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WIU’s Big Pink Volleyball aims to spike breast cancer

Big Pink Volleyball.JPG
Western Illinois University
courtesy photo

According to the McDonough County Health Department, breast cancer is the most common cancer in women of any race. It is also the most common cause of death from cancer among Hispanic women and the second most common cause of death from cancer among white, black, and Asian/pacific islander women.

To help the thousands of women affected, the Big Pink Volleyball Tournament was started in 2002 by retired Western Illinois University Campus Recreation Associate Director Judy Yeast. This year marks 20 years since its inception.

The idea was for “students to come together and have fun while we also give back to the community for a good cause,” said Jessica Butcher, the pioneer coordinator for the tournament.

The founding aim was to raise awareness and funds for breast cancer research. However, the funds have now been redirected to help local breast cancer patients and their families through Linda’s Fund at McDonough District Hospital.

“We wanted to help more local areas, and that is why we started donating towards Linda’s Fund instead of more broad research,” said Meredith McGary, the current coordinator for the Big Pink Volleyball.

The tournament is played with a four-foot-wide volleyball with teams of six to eight players for each game. The pink color of the volleyball signifies the pink ribbon that symbolizes breast cancer.

Tri States Public Radio produced this story.  TSPR relies on financial support from our readers and listeners in order to provide coverage of the issues that matter to west central Illinois, southeast Iowa, and northeast Missouri. As someone who values the content created by TSPR's news department please consider making a financial contribution.