Pink is not Rachael King’s favorite color. She doesn’t mind donning the shade, however, if it raises awareness for cancer.

“I love to wear it if it’s for a good cause,” King said.

King and her Bethel Park volleyball team teammates could not host a Pink-Out event during October, which traditionally is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, because COVID-19 restrictions limited attendance to 25 people at high school matches this fall.

So the Black Hawks and their booster group recently held a Turkey Trot on the Montour Trail. The event featured a 5-kilometer race and a 1-mile fun walk.

“A game would have been more fun because we’d get to wear pink socks and our friends could watch us play,” said King, who participated in the walk. “But this was a good substitute and a great way to create awareness for the cause.

“It was a lot of fun,” she continued. “It still was a good time with friends and I know in my heart it was for a good cause and it will help people. Even if it’s in the littlest of ways, it’s important to raise money and awareness as well as help others out.”

According to BP girls volleyball booster president, Tyann Neal, the event was limited to players and families within the organization. She said the group was unable to invite people outside of the group because of COVID-19 restrictions.

“We didn’t want to overpopulate the trail,” Neal said, “but we did want to give back because so many nonprofits have been impacted by COVID. This was a way to give back and pull together as a community.

These girls were so amazing and they are truly learning the heart of giving back especially during these difficult times.”

The Black Hawks raised more than $600 through a $10 registration fee and two raffles for gift baskets provided by Pasta Too and Your Personal Image, Inc. Proceeds were donated to The Pink Pamper, which endeavors to improve the lives of women impacted by cancer.

Founded in 2008, The Pink Pamper features two primary charities.

The HaLo Fund was established to help women who had experienced the trauma of hair loss because of chemotherapy. It provides a $350 voucher towards the purchase of a natural-looking wig at Hair Enhancements of Pittsburgh.

The Getting Involved for Women in Treatment (GIFT) Fund was established to help patients currently undergoing treatment with gift shopping for their families during the holiday season.

According to Lee Ann Rattigan, who is vice president of The Pink Pamper, the BP volleyball funds specifically were directed to the GIFT fund. Last year, 20 families and some 43 children, up to age 18, benefited from the program.

“We are grateful and so proud of these girls because they stepped up and did something philanthropic,” Rattigan said.

“In all honesty, sports teams normally do Pink-Out events but because of COVID-19 many have not been able to reach out. These girls came up with a great creative way to keep social distance and raise money for our organization. We are eternally grateful for their effort.”

For King, getting up early on a Sunday morning was worth the effort to go the extra mile because the sophomore is well acquainted with cancer. Her grandmother and two great aunts suffered from the disease.

“I was excited to be a part of this and raise money for the charity because I have three family members that were survivors,” she said. “It was a real good event. We had a huge turnout and bonded together and raised a lot of money.”

King said while she knew a lot about cancer she and her teammates learned “important information” about The Pink Pamper.

Marian Heisler, president of The Pink Pamper, addressed the Black Hawks at the event and asked them to “imagine a bad hair day” and then to imagine no hair because when someone gets cancer and undergoes treatment they often experience that scenario.

Heisler and Rattigan also noted how cancer is a “financially debilitating” disease because of the costs associated with treatments.

“The first thing you think about when you get a diagnosis is your own mortality and who will take care of my family and then losing your hair,” said Rattigan. “As an organization, we try to help women on their journey to wellness as they negotiate the financial hardships and emotional trauma of medical hair loss.”

Because of COVID-19, The Pink Pamper, like other 501(C)(3) organizations, and its efforts to fundraise have been any thing but normal in 2020. Its biggest event, The Bubble Ball, went virtual this summer.

The nonprofit is currently gearing up for Giving Tuesday Dec. 1.

Pink Pamper accepts single donations on its one-cause platform at one.bidpal.net/pinkpampergiftfund or on its Facebook page @pinkpamper.org. The group also has an Instagram account: pinkpamperhalofund.

Fore more information, email info@pamper.org.

Almanac Sports Editor

An award-winning journalist, Eleanor Bailey has been employed by Observer Publishing Company since 1982. She is the sports editor at The Almanac and a contributor for the Observer-Reporter.

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