BROOKLYN, N.Y. — The first event of the year organized by the St. Joseph's College (Brooklyn) Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) was a huge success as over 50 student-athletes turned out to join the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Brooklyn Walk on Sunday, October 15th.
"Seeing so many members of our teams come together and support this tremendous organization was very special," commented Director of Athletics and Recreation James Lally. "Everyone involved in this event saw the power that comes with uniting people around a cause. That is what it means to be a student-athlete and teammate, and that is what it takes to fight cancer; unity around a purpose."
The student-athletes joined over 25,000 participants for the event that began at MCU Park and circled around Coney Island. Among the many people they met along the 5-kilometer stroll was NYC mayoral candidate Nicole Malliotakis, who also posted a photo with the Bears on her twitter.
Driven by their competitive nature, the student-athletes also smashed their original goal by tenfold, raising over $5,000 to date for the American Cancer Society. "Softball set the tone. They were the first ones to bring in over $500. They were the first to bring in over $1,000," commented SAAC President and men's basketball senior Alec Willis. "Other teams saw that and said 'why don't we do that?' and then Baseball raised over $1,000 and then Women's Soccer did it, and everyone was just following along."
Players, coaches, and others in the Bears' family came together to support a powerful cause, as many who walked have directly felt the effects of breast cancer. According to the American Cancer Society, the goal for Making Strides of Brooklyn was to raise one million dollars, and the Bears, dressed in pink, did their part to contribute.
Softball junior Nicole Quintana felt a personal connection to the walk. "Bringing awareness and raising money for breast cancer research means a lot to me and my family because my grandmother is a breast cancer survivor. The walk was such a special thing for me to participate in, and donate money towards."
As has been an annual tradition for many SJC teams, the women's volleyball and soccer teams also hosted special breast cancer awareness games recently. "I feel everyone nowadays is affected by someone with breast cancer or any cancer in general and we're just playing for all those people who are working hard and trying to beat their battle," added women's soccer freshman Deserae Sequeira, who scored five goals in a win over Yeshiva University during their awareness game.
"Everyone's buying into what SAAC's trying to accomplish, which is camaraderie within the school and community," concluded Willis. Asked about what else to expect from SAAC this year he added, "we're partnering with SGA [Student Government Association] for a 3-on-3 basketball tournament. We're doing #HashtagLunchbag again to bring lunches to the homeless shelter. And a new 'Battle of the Bears' competition where you receive points for attendance at games and other campus events, performing community service projects, and doing well in class."
Supporters can still contribute to the Bears efforts for the American Cancer Society via their team pages through December 31.