Stadalsky: Braves show their pink

Chanooka Braves Junior Varsity team members proudly sport their pink jerseys.
Chanooka Braves Junior Varsity team members proudly sport their pink jerseys.

You don’t have to be brave to wear pink, even if you’re a guy.

The Chanooka Braves football team boldly wore its pink jerseys during its Oct. 1 homecoming game at Three Rivers School to show its support for breast cancer awareness.

Braves board member Nicole Nurczyk said her son was excited about the pink jerseys.

“[The boys] loved it,” she said. “My son loves pink, and was excited to wear the jerseys.”

The idea was put together by Braves cheer athletic director Karianne Craig. October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month. With the Braves homecoming game being played on the first day in October, it just made sense, Craig said.

They also invited the Pink Heals trucks and organization to sell merchandise for proceeds to support their work.

“Pink Heals is such a huge supporter of our community, and we wanted to give back as much as we could,” Craig said.

Angie Caldwell, board member for Pink Heals, Joliet chapter, got a tear in her eye.

“I was very touched by [Craig’s] remark,” she said.

Even the Channahon Fire Protection District got involved and brought along two of its fire vehicles for players and bystanders to check out.

The Braves cheerleaders work pink or other colored tutus; but everyone had at least a bit of pink on, whether it was a hair bow or a pair of socks.

The 50/50 raffle pot of the day was donated to Pink Heals. And the profits Pink Heals made went toward maintenance of its vehicles.

“Every dollar we fundraise goes back into the community, for things like visits,” Caldwell said.

When Craig was putting together the “Pink Out” game and corresponding events, little did she know that soon she also would be touched by a loved one with cancer. Her own mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in February.

“It hits you like a ton of bricks,” Craig said.

Caldwell said a woman from one of the opposing teams stopped by the Pink Heals table and said she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Every year, 249,000 people are diagnosed with breast cancer. It’s hard to find anyone who hasn’t been touched in some way by any kind of cancer.

My best friend, Jackie Mahmoud, died in 2009 after a four-year battle with breast cancer.

But that’s what National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is all about; an annual campaign to urge people to get screenings because early detection can be a key component in beating the disease.

Hands up and high-fives to all the Chanooka Braves and families for showing their pink during their homecoming games. You did your community proud.

• Kris Stadalsky writes about people and topics in areas southwest of Joliet. Reach her at writestuff56@comcast.net.

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