Tori Waldner | Pink Zone game a special event for coach, players

As the Pink Zone game approaches, our team is getting more and more excited.

We have been preparing for this year’s game since last semester with various activities including a fashion show we loved being a part of.

Coach Coquese Washington has also made sure that we realize and understand what a big impact our game has for so many who are affected by breast cancer.

We recently visited Penn State Hershey Medical Center, where we spent part of our day looking at the research lab and meeting some of the doctors who have been given research grants through money raised in Pink Zone events. We talked with researchers, and they explained the types of trials they run and also how being healthy and remaining active will definitely promote a healthy life.

The one thing that I absolutely loved was visiting with patients who were receiving their treatment at the hospital that day. We brought them posters and other goodies, but more importantly we brought our smiles, and they loved seeing us because a few are actually really big fans.

One of our new friends is a patient named Tamara, who decided to come to this year’s Pink Zone game. She let us know that she is bringing 20-plus people with her. They call themselves “Team Tamara.”

It felt amazing to know that we could make someone’s day and that we received more fans.

One of our other stops this past month was at Mount Nittany Medical Center in State College where we saw the Lady Lion Basketball Cancer Resource Center that we helped build.

This is a room for families and friends who know someone who is at the hospital or who might have cancer. It is stockpiled with books of information and computers for them to use. It is also covered with Lady Lion photos of past players and of past Pink Zone games. We met with the hospital CEO, nurses and staff.

As a team, we knew that we were making an impact but recently we have gotten an up-close-and-personal look, so this year the Pink Zone game means more to us than it ever has.

When I say a close look, I mean that doctors led us through the different rooms and showed us a typical day for a cancer fighter. The word “patient” just doesn’t seem appropriate for all the strong people fighting, because that is what they are doing.

We saw machines that looked like mini transformers and have state-of-the-art technology. One machine is used to x-ray the patient and find where exactly the cancer is, and it is precise. Then they have people who use physics and math and everything involved to make sure when they do treatment, they get all the cancer cells and are as close to perfect as possible. The other machine where patients receive the radiation is huge and can rotate and give radiation in a small distance of just millimeters.

It was amazing to see something so state-of-the-art at a hospital that isn’t in a big city.

I can’t wait for the Pink Zone atmosphere on game day.

Pink is everywhere; there are pompoms on every seat, our jerseys have pink, everyone is wearing pink, and last year pink hats and lights were ahnded out. You can only understand if you went to the game how amazing these people are who put this game together and the ones who are survivors or are still fighting against cancer.

They truly do deserve a day to be honored, and we hope that they feel all the love and support we have to give.

Victoria “Tori” Waldner is a sophomore forward/center with the Penn State Lady Lions. She is from Milton, Ga.