The St. Joseph’s Academy volleyball team swept district foe Zachary High School to win the annual Geaux Pink match, played October 7 in the Academy Student Center. With the win, SJA improved to 16-6 on the season (5-0 in district play).
Geaux Pink benefits Mary Bird Perkins Cancer Center. Through bake sales, donations and raffles, as well as proceeds from the gate, nearly $6,300 was raised this year in support of breast cancer research and to increase awareness of the disease. The volleyball team was joined by the SJA cheerleaders and Red Steppers, as well as parents from all three groups, in this year’s fundraiser.
Megan Foco, mother of junior volleyball player Ellie Foco, helped spearhead the effort. She said the annual event is a favorite of the volleyball teams from both schools, who come together each year to show their support of a cause that has touched so many lives.
“We were initially not sure if it could take place due to COVID,” Foco said, “but once we got the approval, an amazing committee was quickly formed, and everyone dove right in volunteering their time, baking for the bake sales, showing their support at the game and securing donations from local retailers, business owners, artists and entrepreneurs. Notably, four of our raffle donors are SJA students.”
Foco lost her father to cancer, and she is a colon cancer survivor. She said that several friends have also battled cancer. “I know how even the smallest gesture can make such a big difference for cancer patients and their loved ones,” she said. “We are fortunate to belong to such an amazing community who all stepped up to make it a great evening for such a wonderful cause.”
Sister Chris Pologa, SJA’s pastoral care minister, led the prayer prior to the start of the match. She is also a breast cancer survivor. “As an all-girls school, I think it is crucial that we educate our young women about breast cancer, being the majority of those diagnosed with this disease are women,” she said. “Early detection and intervention save lives. Hosting a Geaux Pink event raises awareness and funds for this worthy cause while remembering and supporting all women fighting this battle.”
On the day of the Geaux Pink match, students, faculty and staff showed their support by wearing pink. Ellen Frazier, one of SJA’s college advisors and herself a breast cancer survivor, said wearing pink focuses awareness on finding a cure as well as improving available treatments now.
“Every donation that goes to breast cancer research brings us a step closer to achieving those goals,” she said. “As a community of women, breast cancer is of great concern to us, while we also understand that men are not immune to the disease.”
The SJA community has been deeply impacted by the disease, Frazier said. Associate Principal Jacqueline Labat was lost to breast cancer, as have been the mothers of SJA students and faculty/staff members. Former Principal Linda Harvison is also a survivor.
“Much progress has been made in improving the length and quality of life, but we still lose too many vibrant women, young and old, each year,” Frazier said. “We wear pink because more research needs to be funded. We wear pink in memory of those lost to this disease. We wear pink because we are survivors. We wear pink because we want a cure now.”
Mindy Brodhead Averitt
Photos courtesy of Chris Counce