Notre Dame ‘Pink Zone’ fund drive among nations best at $130,633

Published 11:14 pm Thursday, May 12, 2011

NOTRE DAME, Ind. — The University of Notre Dame women’s basketball program proudly announced on Wednesday that it has raised $130,633 as part of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) Pink Zone breast cancer initiative during the 2010-11 season.

That total not only far surpassed last year’s total of $103,750, but it also put the Fighting Irish among the national leaders in this annual drive to generate funds to research, fight and eventually wipe out breast cancer. In addition, it pushes Notre Dame’s Pink Zone fundraising total during the past three years to more than $250,000.

Funds raised from this year’s Pink Zone events at Notre Dame will be donated nationally to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund ($30,633) and locally to the Foundation For Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center’s Women’s Task Force ($100,000), which includes the Secret Sisters Society and Young Survivors group.

“I’m constantly amazed and inspired by the support and teamwork shown by the Notre Dame and South Bend communities to make the Pink Zone initiative an annual success,” Notre Dame head coach Muffet McGraw said. “Every year, we have raised the bar and everyone has come together to not only meet the challenge but exceed it. All of us in the Notre Dame women’s basketball program remain profoundly grateful to those people who donated their time and resources to take this year’s Pink Zone event to a whole new level.”

The Fighting Irish went far and wide throughout the Michiana area in 2010-11, undertaking a variety of activities to raise money for the WBCA Pink Zone project, which is now in its fourth year of existence:

• Collections at each home game during the 2010-11 season

• Sales of Fannie May chocolate bars (Fannie May donated more than $7,000 worth of chocolate bars for the cause)

• Sales of special pink t-shirts, buttons and tote bags at each home game

• The Fighting Irish 3-Point Challenge (fans donate a specific amount for every three-pointer Notre Dame made this year — the Fighting Irish wound up connecting on 139 treys during the ’10-11 season)

• The first Pink Zone Spin-A-Thon, organized in conjunction with Notre Dame’s College of Science and Knollwood Country Club in Granger, Ind. — more than $30,000 in donations came from that event alone

• The first Pink Zone Treadmill Campaign, during which pledges were taken in support of celebrities who walked or ran on a treadmill during a handful of Notre Dame women’s basketball games in late January and early February

The Feb. 12 Pink Zone game vs. Rutgers also featured the following special events on the day of the game:

• The first “Docs In Pink” luncheon (designed to recognize the efforts of researchers and physicians in the fight against cancer) inside Club Naimoli at Notre Dame’s Purcell Pavilion, featuring keynote speaker Anne Thompson, the chief environmental affairs correspondent at NBC News, as well as a breast cancer survivor and Notre Dame graduate

• A silent auction that featured more than 100 specialty items and entertainment packages, and raised more than $13,000

• McGraw’s $10 donation for every rebound the Fighting Irish grabbed during the game (31 rebounds = $310)

• All 16 Fighting Irish players and student managers donated their $15 post-game per diem to the cause

• Fans received special trading cards (through a donation by Notre Dame’s College of Science) with trivia and other facts about cancer and the College of Science’s involvement in the fight against breast cancer

• A special halftime tribute to breast cancer survivors featured a song specifically written for Notre Dame’s Pink Zone event entitled “Beautiful,” and performed by Isabela Nanni, a Fighting Irish women’s basketball season ticket holder