MSHS supports breast cancer awareness with annual “Dig Pink Night”

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Gabriela Santos

MSHS Girls’ Volleyball on Dig Pink Night 2021 with Wendy Skokan before their game. This year’s game will occur on Oct. 20 @6 p.m..

Erica Sherwin

This year the Manitou Springs High School girls’ volleyball team will be hosting Colorado Springs Christian High School in the Mustangs’ gymnasium on Oct. 20. This game is meant to promote breast cancer awareness through their fundraiser event called “Dig Pink Night.” 

The month of October is officially breast cancer awareness month and a time for the players, parents and fans to recognize and honor those who have battled the disease and hoped for a positive health outcome.

This evening will be filled with many emotions for the Mustang squad and their community especially after last year’s night that had been dedicated specifically to Wendy Skokan, a retired Manitou staff member battling the disease. 

She is well known to students, parents and staff. Skokan’s daughter is Crissy Leonhardt, the head girls’ volleyball coach, who acquired the position after taking over for Jane Squires in the 2020-21 season. “My mom was just recently diagnosed with breast cancer last year and to support Skokan the team made t-shirts and shared their love for her,” Leonhardt said.

“The goal for the night is to raise awareness and play in honor of or in memory of those that are close to us and mean a lot to us and to invite anyone and everyone to join us in honoring those that have faced this horrible battle.””

— Leonhardt

Miss Wendy, as students fondly referred to her, worked at the high school’s front desk as the secretary for 22 years before retiring in 2019. She is an extremely dedicated and likable woman that has a huge impact on so many students and family members in the Manitou Springs community. 

“The goal for the ‘Dig Pink Night’ is a fundraiser event that focuses on Memorial Foundation for cancer research” Leonhardt said. The fundraiser donates the earnings to their causes after the night concludes.

“The goal for the night is to raise awareness and play in honor of or in memory of those that are close to us and mean a lot to us and to invite anyone and everyone to join us in honoring those that have faced this horrible battle,” Leonhardt said.

“In previous years, Dig Pink Night and members of the girls’ volleyball program held a bake sale and raffle to raise money for Mrs. Wendy and it brought awareness to everyone on the court and in the stands,” Ayla Flett (12), current volleyball team co-captain said. It is up to the varsity girls to decide whether or not to do a specific fundraiser depending on the year. 

Before the game starts, the gymnasium where the event is being held is covered in pink decorations, especially decorations that showcase the pink breast cancer awareness ribbon. After that, members of the team and community will give speeches about cancer overall and breast cancer specifically.

 They will ask the crowd who in attendance has been affected by cancer or knows someone who has been to stand up. 

What makes the Dig Pink volleyball game special is that it isn’t limited to those individually fighting the disease. “It is meant to support friends, family and community members that have been affected by breast cancer”, Grace Allen (12), current volleyball team co-captain said. 

Before starting their game, the players on the varsity roster will hand out roses to audience members that stood up and participated in the moving pregame moment. 

The game overall is predicted to be entertaining due to the fact the CSCHS Lions girls’ volleyball squad has a record of eight wins and nine losses while the lady mustangs’ squad has 10 wins and eight losses. 

It is a league game and could affect whether or not either team will have a good enough record to move forward in the playoffs. “We want to bring awareness to breast cancer and honor this night by winning our game,” Allen said.