Play4TheCure starts as a game but for some teams turns into a tradition.
Anna Wills, Bucknell University Assistant Field Hockey Coach and former player, has been part of Play4TheCure since high school. Wills learned about Play4TheCure through her club coach and Play4TheCure founder, Tina Reinprecht.
“Many families in the Bucknell Field Hockey community, including parents of current players and alumni themselves, have fought cancer,” Wills said.
Players Mackenzie Haney and Chloe Poltonvage lost their fathers to cancer. “Both young women are incredible people, and they play with the joy of knowing that their fathers would be proud,” emphasized Wills.
Many people within the community get involved with the Pink Game to support those affected by cancer. Wills explains, “finding a cure would help so many people, so we wanted to donate to NFCR.”
When Game day approaches the team suits up in their pink shirts and socks to prepare for the game. On this day, the team has a fun attitude, and they are hyped up to play for cures for all cancers.
The team and their coaches are all thankful for the opportunity to be playing the game they love. “One of our team values is gratitude, and we strive to be thankful for every opportunity to get better,” Wills adds.
The student-athletes are responsible for spreading the word to their classmates, students, and faculty to come out and support the cause. The large crowd helps increase participation in the game day activities and allows the community to contribute.
On game day, tickets are sold and put in a raffle to win 12 different prizes. Bonnie Chanzit, the mother of Junior Defender Sam Chanzit, was able to coordinate this aspect of the event. Chanzit contacts businesses to see if they are willing to donate the prizes to support cancer research.
This year, the prizes included a field hockey basket, a one-week vacation at a beach house in Cape May and gift cards to various places such as Amazon, local restaurants, lululemon, and Target. Chanzit did not stop there, she personally donated an Apple Watch, which was said to generate a lot of the donation money!
Parents assist with the set-up before the game, even arriving early to reach the fans who attend the soccer game beforehand. They also run the prize table throughout the game.
In addition to the game day activities, the team creates a Crowdrise page for those who are unable to attend.
No stranger to fundraising, Bucknell has found many different fundraising strategies that work well for the program.
They participate in “Goal-a-thon,” for each goal that the team scores, alumni, family, and friends donate.
Last year, the team made doormats out of their turf field which generated a lot of engagement from the alumni base.
This season, Bucknell Field Hockey raised $4,830.55 this year for cancer research. Since starting Play4TheCure in 2014, Bucknell Field Hockey has contributed over $9,000.
“To play for something not only greater than yourself and your school and winning, but to play for a cause, is so rewarding.” – Anna Wills