By Maddie Mulkigian, Contributor
Manhattan College’s women’s basketball team will be honoring Coach Kay Yow and the Kay Yow Cancer Fund throughout the month of February through the Play4Kay initiative. The Jaspers will be wearing custom-made pink uniforms throughout the month to raise awareness about the foundation.
The Kay Yow Cancer Fund’s mission is to raise awareness and money for underserved women who are battling all types of cancers. The Play4Kay movement is an aspect of the foundation that focuses on fundraising and educating within the community of female basketball players at the high school and college level.
As a legendary Division I women’s basketball coach with over 700 career wins, a gold medal from coaching at the 1988 Olympics and 20 appearances in the NCAA tournament, the women’s basketball team was honored to represent Coach Kay Yow and her foundation throughout their February games.
“Pink is definitely a great color to wear,” Brazil Harvey-Carr said. “We wear these jerseys in honor of those who battle cancer and are fighting against cancer. It’s a very great cause to be part of and I’m very appreciative to be a part of this foundation and represent it as an athlete. It’s something bigger than myself.”
While also being big fans of their new uniforms, the Jaspers are doing their best to use their platforms as athletes to generate awareness about the ongoing battle against all cancers that women face. Even as Division I athletes with a packed schedule, the team is putting their best effort into educating, donating, and playing for Coach Kay’s cause.
As female athletes, the Jaspers looked up to Coach Kay when they were growing up and recognized how committed she was to the game even as she was fighting a devastating battle.
“Coach Kay definitely means a lot. I remember growing up, seeing teams in the pink jerseys. It was always something that I looked forward to doing,” Harvey-Carr said. “She’s a pioneer basketball coach and I hear Coach Kay’s name tremendously with nothing but greatness. Just to be a part of this foundation and giving back to something that is bigger than me.”
Even after her passing, Coach Kay is continuing to influence the game. Each member of the Manhattan women’s basketball team has been truly impacted by her role in the world of female athletes, and the team was more than excited to honor her and what she stood for throughout February.
“She’s really dedicated to the sport and even though she did have breast cancer she was always committed to what she was doing. Basketball is about passion and commitment, so it’s an honor for us to support her and spread awareness for her,” Guard and foward, Christina Katsamourisaid. “I think it’s important to bring this to the surface and people can share their stories. We want to bring this story to the world and give people some inspiration.”
Not only are the Jaspers representing Manhattan College Athletics, but they will also be sharing Coach Kay’s story as well as the stories of women battling all types of cancer. While pink typically symbolizes breast cancer awareness, the Jasper uniform and Play4Kay will be representing battles against all types of cancer. Many of the Jaspers have sported pink sneakers throughout the entire season and now they have the custom all-pink uniforms to match.
“As you can tell, a variety of our players wear pink. It doesn’t just have to be for the month of February,” Dee Dee Davis said. “I think that’s absolutely admirable, but here at Manhattan, we wear pink throughout the entire year because this is such an honorable cause.”
While the uniforms look great on the court, the team is making sure that it continues to spread awareness about Play4Kay’s mission to fundraise for the Coach Kay Yow Cancer Fund. The Jaspers are working hard on the court, on social media, and in the community to educate and generate awareness about female cancer survivors and fighters.
“We have the utmost respect for Coach Kay and we’re honored to be doing this,” Davis said.
By dedicating an entire month of basketball to Coach Kay and Play4Kay, the Manhattan College women’s basketball team is taking its platform as Division I athletes to an impactful and influential level.