Normally, it’s the “big shot” that gets the biggest roar from a basketball crowd. But during Methodist University's Play4Kay events this Saturday, the loudest ovation was directed towards more than a dozen cancer survivors.
Normally, it’s the “big shot” that gets the biggest roar from a basketball crowd. But at Methodist University this Saturday, the loudest ovation was directed towards more than a dozen cancer survivors.
It was one of the many touching moments that came to light during MU’s Play4Kay events – collecting an all-time record of $7,300 for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and the Cape Fear Valley Health Foundation this weekend.
Raising more than $150,000 in a span of nearly two decades, MU’s Play4Kay initiative stems from the life of prominent North Carolina State University women’s basketball coach Kay Yow, who died in 2009 after a 22-year battle with breast cancer.
“When I started this event on our campus 17 years ago, I never imagined it would become the tradition it has become,” said DeeDee Jarman, deputy director of athletics at MU. “The entire MU community gets involved and we continue to make this event better and better each year. This is exactly what Coach Yow envisioned – the ‘power of one’ coming together.”
The day kicked off on Saturday morning with the MU Physician Assistant Program’s Play4Kay 5K Run/Walk – allowing dozens of students, faculty, staff and members of the Fayetteville community to get a refreshing workout while donating funds to the Play4Kay cause.
Later, hundreds of people in pink flooded to the March F. Riddle Center for the University’s 17th annual Play4Kay women’s basketball game against Brevard College. Before tipoff, fans could participate in a silent auction that offered a variety of unique items including a vintage “Methodist College” gym chair, Play4Kay jersey, hotel stay, photography package, football memorabilia, bakery items, golf-green fees and more.
Fans brought loads of passion to the basketball game, cheering on the Monarchs while donating money to the Play4Kay cause. However, the most emotional stretch of the game came at halftime as the University honored more than a dozen breast cancer survivors at center court – bringing the entire crowd to their feet.
“This event is incredible in the sense that it brings comradery as a community. Whether you’re a survivor or not, this is a very strong community,” said Elizabeth Simmons, an eight-year survivor of breast cancer, who was one of the survivors honored at halftime.