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St. Lawrence University goes pink to battle breast cancer

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CANTON — Across St. Lawrence University’s campus, the traditional school colors of scarlet and brown are giving way to pink this week.

That’s because students, faculty and staff are doffing their normal outfits and buying pink shirts in support of the athletics department’s third annual Power of Pink fundraising effort on campus.

“You cannot walk across our campus any day of the entire calendar year and not run into someone without a T-shirt on,” said women’s volleyball coach Shelly Roiger. “Students could be in class, in the gym, attending a game or going out to dinner and they’ll be wearing one of our shirts. I thought it would get old for people, but it hasn’t.”

Each year, a group of St. Lawrence University athletes cooperate to sell T-shirts as a fundraiser. Proceeds from the shirt sales go to the Gouverneur Business Women, a nonprofit group providing financial assistance to breast cancer patients and their families during their recovery.

The group is also selling raffle tickets, said Mrs. Roiger.

“We have raffle baskets that we’re doing this year through generous donations from Canton businesses,” she said.

Gift certificates and baskets from local businesses including The Club, Dunkin Donuts, Best Western, Price Chopper, and Sergi’s will be raffled off throughout the week.

The effort began when Mrs. Roiger arrived on campus in 2010. At that time, the effort was focused on the volleyball team, and proceeds went to Dig Pink, a national network.

“The first year we did it with what was called a sign-up organization, a national group,” said Mrs. Roiger. “After that first year we looked into some ways that we could keep the money in the north country.”

Now the event is run by St. Lawrence’s Student Athlete Advisory Committee, made up of representatives from each team.

“There was an interest to expand the event to different teams in the athletic department,” said Mrs. Roiger. “It took on a life of its own.”

So far, the group has raised $13,500 over two years. This year their goal is to raise that total to $20,000.

Every bit helps, said Marilyn J. LaPierre, a Gouverneur Business Women executive committee member.

“It is a great impact for us,” she said. “Any organization which helps us out makes a big difference. Last year half of our income was from other special events.”

The group, whose major fundraiser is the May Breast Cancer Walk, supports patients in Lewis, St. Lawrence and Jefferson County.

The group is selling T-shirts at the Sullivan Student Center from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. T-shirts will also be available at Power of Pink events.

On Thursday, there will be a panel discussion with doctors the from Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center’s Richard E. Winter Cancer Center.

That will be followed with a string of Power of Pink sporting events: Two women’s volleyball games versus Skidmore College and Union College starting at 5 p.m. Friday, and soccer against the Rochester Institute of Technology and football versus Springfield College, both at 1 p.m. Saturday.

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