||Hope For Future Generations
NC State Coach Kay Yow kisses her great grand-niece, Isabelle Kay Yow, prior to Sunday’s third-annual Hoops for Hope.
Just before the Sunday’s tip-off for the third-annual Hoops for Hope, NC State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow picked up her 10-month-old namesake and lightly kissed her on the cheek, a tangible promise for a brighter future.
Maybe Isabelle Kay Yow won’t grow up in a world with breast cancer. At the very least, hopes NC State’s Hall of Fame coach, she will grow up in a world that has changed the life of every patient diagnosed with cancer, through research and technology.
No more gut-turning chemotherapy or radiation treatments. No more debilitating side effects. No more wigs and headbands.
NC State Players wear specially designed pink uniforms emblazoned with Coach Yow’s name as a tribute to their coach.
“I would hope, as we continue to get new drugs to fight this disease, that she grows up in a world where, if it is detected early, there is a 95 to 99 percent chance against recurrence,” Yow said.
“Or, maybe by the time she gets older, there will even be a cure, new drugs that can target the tumor cells and just zap them.”
If it happens, Isabelle – and the world – will owe a debt of gratitude to the great aunt whose courageous and well-chronicled fight against breast cancer has brought the issue to the fore, with events like Hoops for Hope and the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure.
Sunday’s Hoops for Hope was the biggest yet, in which 8,041 spectators were on hand to see NC State present a check for $42,400 to the Komen’s Triangle affiliate. The money was raised with a $5 donation from each ticket sold and a pre-game silent auction that raised some $11,000. An additional $10,000 was presented to the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Fund, an newly formed off-shoot of the V Foundation for Cancer Research, by the University of Tennessee women’s program.
Fans got into the pink theme with body paint, pink pom poms and all manner of pink clothing.
NCSU had its largest pre-sale of women’s basketball tickets ever with over 6,000 sold in advance of the Feb 10th game. The largest crowd yet attended at a Hoops for Hope game at 8,081 fans.
And Team Yow was in its finest form, disposing of Boston College 60-41 in front of more than 8,000, who were mostly decked out in breast cancer awareness’ designated pink colors. The Wolfpack players wore pink uniforms, each with the name “Yow” stitched on the back. They all wore special pink-and-white Nike shoes and warm-ups designed and made the NC State College of Textiles.
The players were best exemplified by sophomore Amber White, who spent the entire post-game celebration writhing on Kay Yow Court with leg cramps, a satisfying agony of total effort.
Coach Yow & her team were a vision in pink for the inspirational event.
“We all knew coming into this game, that this day was for [Coach Yow],” said junior Shayla Fields, who contributed a career-high 24 points.
But that’s not really true. The day was really for cancer survivors, and Yow was but one of hundreds in Reynolds Coliseum.
Her only regret for this day was that she didn’t get to participate in the Halftime March of Survivors.
More than 100 others did, some with tears streaming down their face as they lined up in the shape of a pink ribbon on the court.
“That is a real emotional part of this event for the survivors, and I can’t be a part of it,” said Yow, who was in the locker room with her team at intermission. “It satisfies me that they all get to be a part of it and that it is something we can give to them. That really lifts me up.
“And a lot of them tell me how much it lifts them up. I just wish I could speak with every survivor, shake every hand and hear every one of their stories.”
After the game, Yow made one more emotional presentation, to Jeanne Peck, an NC State database administrator and cancer survivor who first got Yow involved with the Race for the Cure more than a decade ago. Peck received the Courage Angel Pin, a specially designed gold pin donated by Jolley’s Jewelers that is passed each year to a person dedicated to helping others fight cancer.
|CBC Backs The Pink Pack
Two other CBC divisions pitched in to help out with Hoops for Hope. WRAL-TV Anchor/Reporter Pam Saulsby emceed the half-time event. WRAL-FM MIX 101.5 partnered with WSM on the event, signing sponsors, promoting ticket sales and having their van on-site during the game.
Both WRAL-TV & MIX are sponsors of the Triangle Race for the Cure.
“She is the person who first got me involved with the Race for the Cure in Raleigh,” Yow said. “I’ll never forget that after the first race (in 1996), I was in Portland, Oregon, the next week and they were having their Race for the Cure that weekend. They had 25,000 people. I cut the article out and brought it home and sent it to Jeanne and said “This is our vision. If Portland, Oregon, can have 25,000 people, Raleigh, North Carolina, can have 25,000 people.”
Last summer’s race, on the campus of Meredith College, had 22,000 participants and raised more than $1.5 million.
“Jeanne was obviously a special person for me to give it to,” Yow said. “I was really happy that she was chosen to be the person to receive it. She is so worthy because she has dedicated a lot of her life to help others battle this disease.”
And that’s the kind of dedication that Yow hopes will bring a better future for fighting cancer to Isabelle’s generation, and all that follow.
Thanks to NC State’s Tim Peeler for this capcom story & these capcom photos.