The Times West Virginian

Local News

September 30, 2013

‘Pink Out’ program planned Sunday

F.O.P. football players, cheerleaders to honor loved ones who have battled breast cancer

FAIRMONT — F.O.P. football players and cheerleaders are honoring loved ones who have battled cancer during a “Pink Out” on Sunday.

Activities will take place in honor of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which is the month of October, at East-West Stadium in Fairmont between the 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. F.O.P. football games. The “Pink Out” program is expected to start at roughly 2 or 2:15 p.m.

Mary Jo Cochran, cheerleading coordinator for Mountaineer Youth Football League, has organized this event for the second year in a row. She wanted to plan the “Pink Out” to create awareness and help the kids understand why their favorite college and professional teams often wear pink uniforms or accents.

“I got a really positive response (last year), and that’s one reason why I decided to go ahead and do it again,” Cochran said.

F.O.P. football has three flag football teams (blue, white and red); two peewee teams (blue and white); and one midget team. The kids range from 5 years old to middle school.

During the “Pink Out,” football players and cheerleaders will walk onto the field with family members who are cancer survivors as they are announced by name. The names of loved ones who have passed away or are unable to come because they are currently struggling with cancer will also be announced.

Cochran said Breast Cancer Awareness Month hits very close to home because her grandmother, Mary Romino, was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 87. Romino, who just turned 93 years old, is now cancer free.

On Sunday, Cochran’s 9-year-old son Liam, who plays on the peewee blue team, and 7-year-old daughter Myla, who is on the team’s cheerleading squad, will escort Romino onto the field.

The cheerleaders will read a poem written by a breast cancer survivor, and the audience will observe a moment of silence.

Posters that the kids have made in honor of family members or about breast cancer or any type of cancer in general will be hung around East-West Stadium. Decorated cardboard pink ribbons will also line the track.

The children will accent their normal uniforms with pink touches. The football players will sport pink socks, pink gloves and other pink gear, and the cheerleaders will wear pink socks, pink ribbons in their hair and different pink accessories. Parents will also wear the “Pink Out” T-shirts that Cochran designed.

“We encourage all fans or any spectators to wear pink that day,” she said.

Raffles will be held and there will be a collection to raise money for the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center in Morgantown in the F.O.P.’s name. Cochran will send the funds to the cancer center along with a picture of all the cheerleaders, football players and cancer survivors who participated in the “Pink Out.”

The event will feature a table with information specifically related to breast cancer. Cochran said this is a chance to help answer questions and to inform people who are facing breast cancer or their family members of where they can go for support or financial assistance.

The “Pink Out” will show the youth that their parents and their teams support the efforts to fight and cure breast cancer and other cancers, and that community support is also needed to create more awareness and lead to further research, she said.

“It’s something great for the kids,” Cochran said. “It’s educational.”

Email Jessica Borders at jborders@timeswv.com or follow her on Twitter @JBordersTWV.

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