When the Western Michigan Broncos take the field Saturday at home vs. Ball State they will be wearing several pink uniform accents, including pink Bronco decals on their helmets in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But for the team it's more than just raising awareness for a disease that cuts 40,000 women's lives short annually, it's a deeply personal thing.
Defensive coordinator Ed Pinkham has lost three sisters to the horrible disease in his lifetime, and it's had long lasting effects on him and his family. "As hard as it is for an individual like myself to lose a sister, when you see what goes on in the family they've left behind, the kids, the nieces, the nephews. Some of them are still struggling. I've got a nephew who's college age, and he still hasn't found his way," he said addressing the team after they gave him a special pink oar inscribed with the names of his sisters.
"Whatever you can do for the rest of your life to help people find a cure for cancer is worth the effort," Pinkham said.
Pinkham's family has put a tremendous amount of effort into raising awareness and helping families affected by breast cancer. His family created the Pink SOCS (Sisters of Cancer Survivors) Foundation Inc. in 2008. The non-profit organization's mission "is to improve the lives of families in our communities that have been affected by breast cancer and also all other forms of cancer," according to its website, PinkSOCS.org.
Since creating the foundation, the family has helped raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in support of families dealing with cancer through golf outings, walks and other fundraisers, according to coach Pinkham in an article on MLive.com.
When the Broncos take the field in their pink decaled helmets the team is not only raising awareness for Pinkham's breast cancer foundation, but also supporting their coach and honoring the memories of his sisters.
For more information on Pink SOCS, or how to get involved with the organization, please visit their website at PinkSOCS.org. For information on how to donate to Pink SOCS's cause, click here.
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