More than a game

Jamal Saunders, Staff Reporter

The girls’ volleyball team recently played their annual Dig Pink game on Tuesday,  October 5 against the Penns Valley Rams. The game was Bellefonte’s Dig Pink game, a game dedicated to supporting and bringing awareness to breast cancer.  To the outside observer, it may just be a game, but to the Bellefonte players and community, it’s way more.

Bellefonte volleyball has held this game annually for five years now. Each year, students in the student section wear all pink in the pinkout theme to show their support for breast cancer awareness.  The players and coaches participate as well, with the coaches wearing pink shirts during the game and the players wearing pink throughout their gear.  There are also raffle tickets and pink shirts to be bought, with all proceeds going towards breast cancer research.  

Senior Brayson Holderman is glad that this cause is being recognized at BAHS. 

It feels so exhilarating to see how many people come together and not only wear pink, but also donate to an important cause that many women are struggling with,” she said.

The event is run by Tara Ripka, the mother of current player Sadie Ripka. Tara is a breast cancer survivor herself, and picks the day the event will happen and encourages everybody to come out to help be part of the fight.  She helps get everybody into the game and gives inspiration to people fighting against breast cancer and to everybody in the stands. Her inspiration comes from being a  breast cancer survivor herself.

“This is my fifth year helping with the Bellefonte Dig Pink event. Our goal is to raise at least $1,000 at the event to give back to survivors or research. I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 27.  I am now a 22 year survivor of this awful disease,” Mrs. Ripka said. 

The game means a lot to cancer survivors and the people currently going through the fight with cancer.  The community coming together to support them and show that they are not alone in the fight helps bring support and encouragement to keep fighting.  

 “This cause is so meaningful to me because I am a survivor and I know what it means to have support from family, friends and the community.  If our donation can help out with anything that these women need, we are so glad to do it,” Mrs. Ripka said. 

For some on the team and in the stands, this specific game hits close to home. Many know or have known people who have gone through the fight with breast cancer. Seeing the support community gives and  knowing that many at Bellefonte are joining in to try and join the fight against this form of cancer is encouraging to many.

Junior Carlee Pepperman looks forward to playing the Dig Pink game every year. 

“Knowing I have the opportunity to play for someone so influential in my life is really special. My mom continues to work through the struggles of a diagnosis even while in remission. Dedicating a game to her means a lot to me even if other people don’t realize how close it hits home,” Carlee said.