Olympians to host ‘Pink Night’ fundraiser

Coach Kaitlyn Phillips and the Columbus East girls basketball team will host a “Pink Night” at Friday night’s game vs. Mooresville.

The Republic file photo

Kaitlyn Phillips and some of her Columbus East girls basketball players have seen loved ones affected by breast cancer, so they’re doing something to try to help people who are battling it.

Friday night, the Olympians will host a “Pink Night” for their JV-varsity doubleheader against Mooresville. The JV starts at 6 p.m., with the varsity to follow at around 7:30 p.m.

“Where I came from at Whiteland, we did it pretty consistently, and my mom got diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago, so she’s a survivor,” said Phillips, who is in her first year at East. “So it kind of started taking a little bit more personal effect for me. I know Columbus East hasn’t done one, at least in recent years, so it’s kind of a personal matter for me that I’m hoping to bring to Columbus the awareness and some support from the community for other people who have survived breast cancer or are fighting it.”

Friday’s fundraiser will have four components, including a silent auction. At halftime of the JV or varsity game, fans can pay $1 to shoot a free throw, and if they make it, will win a 2-liter bottle of soda. Players will go into the stands with buckets to try to collect change. Also, between the JV and varsity games, local community members and family members who have survived, died from or are currently battling breast cancer will be honored.

All proceeds will go to the Indianapolis-based Indiana Women In Need Foundation.

“They support people, men and women, who are currently battling breast cancer, and they do that with kind of the non-medical need,” Phillips said. “So they help with groceries, they help with daycare, they help with home services like landscaping and house cleaning and things like that.”

At least two of the senior starters for the Olympians have been touched in some way by breast cancer.

Jenna Guse

“I know coach has a big part of that in her family, so she was really passionate about it,” Jenna Guse said. “So we just wanted to bring that to East and get everyone involved and honored. I think it’s a good idea. I know that we’re raising money to support them and kind of give back to our community. I know my grandma was affected by it, so that kind of means something for me to be able to play for her.”

Messiah Trapp

“I know personally I have people in my family who have been affected, so I was on board with the idea when coach brought it to us,” Messiah Trapp added. “I’m really glad that we’re doing it. I just want to play hard for them. It’s just going to give us an extra reason to go hard and have more pride in the game.”