For a second straight year, Cumberland County Schools will join the work of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund to raise money for cancer research through the Play4Kay program.
The fundraiser encourages college and high school basketball teams to select a game on their schedule to use as a focal point for raising money. It pays tribute to the late North Carolina State University women’s basketball coach, Sandra Kay Yow, who was a victim of cancer.
Vernon Aldridge, student activities director for Cumberland County Schools, first became interested in the Play4Kay program following a presentation made sometime back by Que Tucker, commissioner of the North Carolina High School Athletic Association.
Aldridge said Tucker told everyone at the meeting that day that the state of North Carolina was not ranked among the leaders in donations to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund — in spite of the fact Yow was a native of North Carolina and had a lengthy coaching career in the state.
“With as much as she’s done for the state of North Carolina and the young ladies from North Carolina who have played for her, it doesn’t make much sense,’’ Aldridge said.
Cumberland County had a personal stake in getting involved as well, Aldridge said, as Pine Forest High School athletic director Jason Norton is battling cancer.
Last year, during the Play4Kay drive, Cumberland County Schools raised $5,600 for the fight against cancer. Pine Forest raised more money than any other school and received a plaque in recognition of that.
It’s left up to each school to decide how to raise money on the night of its Play4Kay basketball game. They’re asked to pick a game on their schedule where they expect to draw a good crowd.
Some schools just ask for donations from spectators or have a collection point at the ticket gate. Others hold 50-50 drawings. Some offer special Play4Kay t-shirts for sale, and a portion of the proceeds from the sale of each shirt are donated back to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.
Sometimes the competing teams incorporate pink into their uniforms, either using the jersey or something like pink socks, to raise cancer awareness.
Following are the scheduled Play4Kay dates this year for each Cumberland County school. For specifics on what is planned to raise money at each game, contact the home school directly.
Cape Fear — Jan. 8 vs. Pine Forest
Seventy-First — Jan. 8 vs. Scotland
Jack Britt — Jan. 25 vs. Scotland
Gray’s Creek — Jan. 25 vs. Cape Fear
Douglas Byrd — Feb. 1 vs. Terry Sanford
E.E. Smith — Feb. 5 vs. Pine Forest
Pine Forest — Feb. 8 vs. Cape Fear
South View — Feb. 8 vs. Terry Sanford
Westover — Feb. 8 vs. Overhills
Terry Sanford — Feb. 12 vs. Pine Forest