Student athletes on the women’s soccer and volleyball teams took advantage of the fall season to raise awareness for issues close to their hearts, making teamamtes, fans and the community all the wiser about Alzheimer's disease and breast cancer.
Many choose to wear pink in October in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The Eagles took it a step further by donning their pink on the court in the form of warm-up t-shirts and special ribbon socks during all their October games.
“We wanted to raise awareness because a lot of people in our families have been affected by breast cancer,” senior Beth Stumpf ‘15 said. She and co-captains Gretchen Theil ‘15 and Haleigh Shaw ‘15 helped design the pink warm-ups, which read, “Eagles Fight and Unite!”
At the age of 13, Beth learned her mother, Teresa Stumpf (pictured with the varsity team), was diagnosed with the deadly disease. Today, her mom is a proud breast cancer survivor of four years and Beth uses October to teach others about the disease.
“Every year I try to do something different throughout the month to raise awareness about breast cancer. It helps me reflect on the time when my mom was going through it,” she said.
Breast cancer affects one in eight women according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. The organization recommends that adult women of all ages perform self-exams once per month and receive a clinical exam at least once per year.
On the suggestion of junior Taylor Burrows, the varsity women's soccer team participated in Dayton’s Walk to End Alzheimer's® held October 11 at Fifth Third Field, home of the Dragons.
“I’ve been doing the walk personally for years, and I wanted to start a team charity event or service site,” Taylor said. She took inspiration from fellow classmates who had organized their team or club to volunteer in CJ service activities such as Join Hands Miami Valley.
“It was really cool because not a lot of my teammates have had an experience with the disease, but everyone wanted to be there to show their support,” she said. The team raised approximately $1,000 by participating.
Taylor and her family have been longtime proponents of the Miami Valley Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, part of the national organization which hosts the annual walk in more than 600 communities nationwide, because of their connection to relatives who have suffered with the disease.
“I know being involved means a lot to my grandpa and that’s what really keeps me going,” said Taylor, who has worked to raise awareness since around 2007.
Alzheimer's is the most common form of dementia, accounting for about 60 to 80 percent of all cases. The national Walk to End Alzheimer's® began in 1989 and is considered “the world's largest event to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer's care, support and research.”
PICTURED TOP: CJ soccer players pose with Heater, mascot of the Dayton Dragons, holding their “Promise Garden Flowers”outside of Fifth Third Field. Each registered participant receives a pinwheel flower during the event’s opening ceremonies.