By Mike DeFabo
Times West Virginian
Fairmont Senior athletes and fans bleed blue and white ... and now: pink.
After adding pink shoelaces to their uniforms last season, the Lady Polar Bears have added a pink stripe to their uniforms in support of the American Cancer Society.
While the new uniforms have produced a noticeable change on the court, it’s what the team is doing off the court and out of uniform that is leading to an even bigger change.
“The girls decided that wearing pink wasn’t enough,” said Cindy Stoller, who is a cancer survivor as well as the mother of freshman Abigail and junior Emily.
Several of the players have family members who have fought through cancer. And one of the of the assistant coaches, Sam Marra, was diagnosed last year.
To show support, the team participated in the “Making Strides Against Breast Cancer” event in Morgantown earlier this year.
Afterward, the Lady Polar Bears teamed up with the American Cancer Society for a fundraising campaign of their own. Each of the 16 team members has sponsored a younger student, and together they decorated cans for donations. Support has come in from family members, friends, businesses and members of the community.
Through their efforts, the Polar Bears have raised more than $3,000.
“I’m proud of what they are doing on the court,” Fairmont Senior girls’ basketball coach Corey Hines said of his 11-1 team. “But I’m even more proud of this.”
Today at halftime of the East Fairmont-Fairmont Senior game two winners will be announced and crowned “Little Miss and Little Mr. Polar Bear.”
“We have a great group of young ladies that immerse themselves in the community,” Stoller said. “They are role models for the younger kids.”
The team is continuing to accept donations. Donation buckets will be present at the game, and checks can be made payable to the American Cancer Society. Shirts with the logo “Wearing pink is not enough” will also be available for purchase.
“These girls have really pulled together,” Stoller said. “They are a great team working together for a common goal, on and off the court.”
Email Mike DeFabo at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @MikeDeFaboTWV.