Thursday, October 9, 2014

Running for those Who Can't: The Great "Pink-Out"

Once you know, you cannot not know. —Larry Lauro, Bellarmine College Prep

In other words, you can't unlearn something. Reading the July 2014 issue of Giants Magazine, taught me about the One Flap Down Foundation, an organization started by former Giant Jeffrey Leonard. It supports a group in need—single parents with cancer. Even though I read about it in late September, its timing was fortuitous. October is Breast Cancer Awareness month. I thought to myself, I can't not do something with what I now know.
The "HacMan" and Lou Seal
According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc. it is "an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same. We have made a lot of progress but still have a long way to go and need your help!"

We are reminded of this campaign through the color pink, especially pink ribbons which can now be found in the office, at coffee shops and throughout the wide world of sports. The NFL, college football, Major League Baseball and many others draw national attention to this cause through their support, literally, on the field! The girls cross country team at St. Ignatius College Prep in San Francisco wanted to join the fold.
A sea of pink for the great "pink-out."

The day before a race is no longer just a "pre-meet" day-workout; they are "spirit days" too. 
Captains choose a theme and runners are encouraged to play the part as they do their part. Their part is a light workout: low mileage, no intensity. We get our athletes to stretch, stay loose and we discuss our race plan. Combine these tasks with spirited attire, and you have a recipe for team unity and bonding.

The spirit day on October 1, one day before our first league meet is one I will never forget. The captains decided they wanted to have a "pink-out" to recognize Breast Cancer Awareness Month. I shared with them the story of the One Flap Down Foundation and what it made me think about.

One of our team mottos is "I run because I can." The girls wanted to wear pink to remember that we run for those who cannot. I thought of how much more difficult it would be for a single parent to find both the time and the energy to run when a battle against cancer is underway. 
Very spirited: a tatt and a great Giants hat!

In response, we had a collection for the Hac Man's foundation. With over 100 girls on the team, we were able to gather a robust donation. And on the day of our great "pink-out," all of our runners offered prayers to all of those with cancer, and especially those who are single parents.

A personal highlight was the accessory that accompanied a sea of pink. The San Francisco Giants happened to be playing the wild card playoff game in Pittsburgh that evening. I asked every girl to wear a Giants hat or gear to show support for our team, for the roots of the One Flap Down Foundation and to welcome in ORANGE OCTOBER.

Any team can unite in the color pink this month. And keeping with Catholic tradition, they can pray the rosary for those struggling with cancer and for more respect for life. As far as I can see, the One Flap Foundation and SI XC are doing both.

Also, here's more background on Jeffrey Leonard and his foundation from yesterday's blog.

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