The Williamson PreK – 8 hosted the 5th Annual Shoot for a Cure on Thursday, January 10th. The school gym turned pink for the evening. Pink balloons, pink banners, girls and boys basketball players and cheerleaders dressed in pink, even the coaches were sporting pink attire. The cheer squad tossed pink bracelets to the crowd. On-court activities like three-point shot contests were held to get the crowd involved in the fun. Money raised during the evening is donated to the American Cancer Society to support cancer research.
How it Started
Williamson girls’ basketball coach Julius Hatcher and his wife Tonya are the organizers of this yearly event. Several years ago, the pair attended a West Virginia University women’s basketball game dedicated to breast cancer awareness. When they returned to Williamson, they decided they needed to do something similar on the middle school level with the Lady Pack girls basketball team. From there, the event took off.
“We want to promote awareness and prevention at an early age and encourage young female athletes to take care of themselves as they grow older,” says Tonya Hatcher.
Not only is the aspect of health awareness being promoted, but the athletics department wants to teach the youth the importance of giving back.
While they’ve kept the “think pink” for breast cancer awareness look, the evening has grown to include awareness for all types of cancer.
At the end of the girls’ game and just before the boys’ game begins, all players and cheerleaders from both teams came together on the floor. A ceremonial check in the amount of $400.00 was presented to American Cancer Society volunteer, Chris Dotson.
“The American Cancer Society is so appreciative of the Williamson PreK-8 students, staff, and supporters for their continued dedication to the fight against cancer. Also, teaching the youth to give back, to volunteer, and to be charitable is invaluable,” said Dotson.
School principal Shannon Blackburn invited anyone in the stands that is battling or has battled cancer or lost a loved on to cancer to come out on the floor. As they filtered down to the half court line with misty eyes, they were given a pink carnation by the Williamson cheerleaders.
According to the Hatchers, Shoot for a Cure has resulted in five years of excitement, fundraising, and community involvement. The coaches, athletes, and school staff now look forward to this annual event. Mr. and Mrs. Hatcher say they plan to continue and expand this event every year.