By now, the wave of pink that crashes onto the shores of the Bryce Jordan Center every February probably isn’t news to anybody.
Corinne Leparik, for instance, has seen this at least 10 times before. It’s one of the fringe benefits of holding season tickets to the Lady Lions basketball team — that and the scenic drive in from New Jersey.
“Once a Lady Lion, always a Lady Lion” is something they used to say when Leparik played forward for the team in the late ’70’s; and she has, for the most part, found it to be true.
Sure, there have been a few games missed here and there, but the Play4Kay Game Benefiting Pink Zone to raise money and awareness for breast cancer is a longstanding appointment.
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It’s really important these young ladies, these student-athletes, learn it’s not all about getting a ball in a hoop.
Corinne Leparik, supporter
“I think I’ve been to all of them,” Leparik said.
She, herself, is not a cancer survivor, but her rigid attendance streak is nevertheless about solidarity — with the team and the more then 500 women who stepped out onto the court at halftime.
“It’s really important these young ladies, these student-athletes, learn it’s not all about getting a ball in a hoop,” Leparik said.
Leparik sported a Pink Zone T-shirt and even had a rose-colored streak running through the front of her hair, which oddly enough did little to distinguish her from the rest of the audience in the stands.
Darchelle Ross, also in pink, came to the BJC to support her friend, one of the cancer survivors who spent halftime learning the “breast cancer awareness shuffle.”
So far, she was enjoying the experience.
“Just the camaraderie, the support of the survivors. … As well as the excitement,” Ross said.
Kathy Aumiller experienced that excitement up close and personal from the floor of the BJC. She has been a survivor for three years — hardly any time at all compared to the women holding signs for almost four times that amount.
When you go out on the floor, the people who you’re standing beside, you don’t even know them, you just hug them.
Kathy Aumiller, survivor
Aumiller started volunteering with the Pink Zone immediately after she was diagnosed with an invasive ductal carcinoma. She was a chairwoman for last October’s “Little Black Dress Goes Pink” fashion show and spent Friday at the BJC helping to stuff more than 800 “survivor bags” full of pins and other goodies.
“It helps you get through (the cancer),” Aumiller said.
Events like the one on Sunday help too, a useful reminder that help or support is never that far away.
“When you go out on the floor, the people who you’re standing beside, you don’t even know them, you just hug them,” Aumiller said.