The Charlotte 49ers hosted their 17th annual “Dig Pink” event this past Friday night, Oct. 26 against the FIU Panthers. The fundraiser consists of many different things including a “pink out” of Dale F Halton Arena, a Chick-fil-A awareness day at the local fast food joint and a highly anticipated game. The 49ers, who have been putting on the annual “Dig Pink” event for almost two decades, have always approached this event with the same passion and enthusiasm that a high profile match against a conference rival would require.

“Obviously October is a big month of breast cancer awareness and every year my team works in conjunction with the ‘Side-out foundation’ and some local organizations to raise funds to support the growing awareness of breast cancer,” said Head Coach Karen Weatherington.

As mentioned earlier, the 49ers were at the local Chick-fil-A at University Place fundraising with money buckets in hand and pink shirts worn proudly to help spread awareness about the upcoming night. Asking for donations towards research for the disease that has touched so many, the athletes were intent on spreading information about the affliction, how it had affected so many, and how crucial financial support could be in making the difference. The ladies also spoke of their upcoming game with FIU on Oct. 26 and shared that a free “Dig Pink” tee shirt would be waiting for donators at the game. A big reason that Dig Pink is so effective and embraced by the community is in part because of the lives the sickness has touched. Even among the 49ers, the event holds a special place in the heart of the athletes.

“This really holds a soft spot for me,” said senior outside hitter Reeana Richardson. “My aunt Carlene had breast cancer. She’s a survivor. I think this is going to be her fifth year. It’s just really supporting and really helpful that we’re out here today and my teammates are out here really trying to get people to donate and informing people about the cause and what we’re doing. So it’s heartwarming.”

This time of year is also special for Head Coach Weatherington, who breast cancer become a reality for many years ago.

“My mom really went through a very impactful time and it really has kind of rippled through our family. We have that breast cancer gene; a lot of us have been diagnosed with having that gene in the family. So it means a lot when people come out and give a little or a lot or just their support,” said Weatherington. “So many women are struck with breast cancer every year and everyone has a story. Everyone on this team knows someone.”

The 49ers are still currently taking donations for the cause and will continue to up until Oct. 31.