Pilots, Community Team Up Against Cancer

Bethel Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Lightfoot (center) goes over plays with his team during last year’s benefit game, which raised funds for cancer research on campus. This year, all proceeds from the Team Up Against Cancer event on Jan. 25 will go to local nonprofit Hello Gorgeous!

On Saturday, Jan. 25 at 3p.m., the Bethel College men’s basketball team will play for more than a win against Indiana Wesleyan University – they’ll be playing against cancer. The coaches on both sides will be sporting tennis shoes for the cause and fans are invited to wear hats in honor of someone they love with cancer. It’s all part of a Team Up Against Cancer event designed to raise awareness about cancer and support those affected by it.

Last year, a similar event raised funds for Bethel’s undergraduate student research group who, under the direction of Associate Professor of Biochemistry Lynne Cary, Ph.D., was able to further cancer research right on campus. This year, proceeds from the event will benefit Hello Gorgeous!, a nonprofit organization based in South Bend that provides complimentary spa makeovers to women battling cancer.

Head Men’s Basketball Coach Mike Lightfoot ’78 is enthusiastic about bringing the community together for Team Up Against Cancer. “It touches everyone,” he says. “I lost my father-in-law to cancer. And just last year, Bethel lost two pillars of our faculty and staff.”

Lightfoot is referring to Kathy Gribbin, Ph.D. (’76), former vice president for life calling and student enrichment, who passed away Feb. 6, and Leslie Greising, Ph.D., a former professor of business, who lost her long and courageous battle on Aug. 16.

The event is being held the same week as both Gribbin’s birthday (Jan. 22) and Greising’s birthday (Jan. 23). “We didn’t realize this when we were planning it – but what a neat way to honor them,” Lightfoot says.

Fry Young (right) with Gribbin.

Halftime will feature speaker Holly (Fry) Young ’97, an alumna who recently ran an ultra-marathon (50 miles) and raised more than $17,000 for Hello Gorgeous! in honor of Gribbin, her dear friend and mentor. She saw firsthand how Hello Gorgeous! can transform the outlook of a woman battling cancer when she nominated Gribbin for a makeover.

“When we surprised her, she was walking to a meeting, looking tired and defeated. By the end of the day, Kathy’s funny, feisty personality had resurfaced as she bounced from guest to guest at her ‘reveal’ luncheon following the makeover,” Fry Young says.

That’s why she’s passionate about supporting an organization that gives beauty back to women who have been through so much. The average spa visit costs about $700 – that includes a manicure and pedicure, facial and seated massage, cut and color or wig, and all of the cosmetics, skincare and nail products used throughout the day.

“We really hope that people in the community come out to team up with us in solidarity against cancer —and help make life a little better for women affected by it,” Lightfoot says.

Additionally, several cancer support organizations, including the American Cancer Association and RiverBend Cancer Services, will have booths at the event, providing attendees with literature and the opportunity to volunteer with their organizations.

Tickets to see the Pilots and Wildcats (both ranked in the top 10) face off are just $5 for adults and $2 for students. But all cancer survivors are invited to attend free of change. All funds raised from ticket sales, merchandise and hat sales, as well as donations, will go to Hello Gorgeous!

To make a tax-deductible donation to Hello Gorgeous!, visit HelloGorgeous.org.

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