Oct. 16, 2013
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. -
Alabama Athletics' Power of Pink campaign, currently in its fourth year as a department-wide initiative, gets underway Friday. Originally started in 2004 by Crimson Tide gymnastics coach Sarah Patterson, the endeavor raises awareness in the fight against breast cancer in the West Alabama community.
"I realize that I am very lucky," Patterson said. "Not only to be healthy, but to also have access to excellent medical care. Not everyone is so fortunate, and I wanted to do something that would help those who need it most."
So she picked Alabama vs. Auburn on Feb. 4, 2005, and designated it as the first Power of Pink meet. She asked everyone to mark the date and to "Think Pink, Wear Pink." The idea exploded nationally and has become a mainstay of the gymnastics season nationwide.
Within the UA athletics department the initiative has grown from the gymnastics team to the rest of the sports to the point where for the last several years Alabama Athletics' Power of Pink has held events three times a year - in the fall, winter and spring.
"The soccer team always gets excited to participate in the Power of Pink initiative," UA head soccer coach Todd Bramble said. "The athletic department has done an incredible job of raising awareness in this community and we feel honored to be a small part of that effort."
This year's Power of Pink slate gets underway Friday at 5 p.m. with cross country's Crimson Classic at the Harry Pritchett Running Course. It will be followed that night by the volleyball team's 7 p.m. match against Texas A&M in Foster Auditorium. The soccer team will hold its 2013-14 Power of Pink game Sunday at 1 p.m. against Kentucky at the Alabama Soccer Stadium.
"The Power of Pink effort is something I am very proud to have our team associated with," UA head track and field/cross country coach Dan Waters said. "Unfortunately, cancer has touched the lives of so many of us. It continues to do so even now as several of our athletes' parents are struggling with the disease. Hosting a Power of Pink event is meaningful to us and adds something special to an event that already is the highlight of our competitive fall season."
In this country alone, a woman will be newly diagnosed with breast cancer every three minutes, and the odds of overcoming breast cancer are much higher if the disease is detected in the early stages, a fact that makes the Tide's efforts even more vital.
"The volleyball community has been a big supporter of breast cancer awareness for a number of years now, and the Power of Pink program is a great avenue for our university to help in the fight against breast cancer," UA head volleyball coach Ed Allen said.
The Tide's winter slate begin on Jan. 24 with the 10th annual Power of Pink gymnastics meet against Arkansas. The swimming and diving teams will host their Power of Pink meet on Jan. 25 against Emory while the women's basketball team will wear pink on Feb. 16 against Texas A&M. The spring schedule will include rowing, women's tennis and softball.