PHS Pink Event raises money for HopeWest

By Tamie Meck

PHS Pink Event raises money for HopeWest | PHS, HopeWest, Volleyball

Photo by Tamie Meck From left, volleyball coaches Amy Bell, Kriss Allen and Krista Carsten enjoy a light moment Friday during the Pink Night volleyball match at Paonia High School. Since 2010, the event, which recognizes October as National Breast Cancer

One day each fall, the Paonia High School Eagles volleyball team goes all out for breast cancer awareness. The Colorado High School Activities Association encourages volleyball teams to "Think Pink" in honor of October as Breast Cancer Awareness Month during a home match.

Paonia has participated in the event since 2007. Last Wednesday it hosted its annual Pink Event in partnership with the Meeker Cowboys.

A bake sale offered an array of pink cookies, cupcakes and other treats, with buyers determining how much they want to donate for each item. During time-outs, drawings were held for prizes donated by local individuals and businesses. Between the junior varsity and varsity matches, prizes were laid out on the volleyball court. Anyone hitting a prize on a serve claimed that prize.

"Meeker is always willing to participate," to buy T-shirts, and be patient with the long time-outs while drawings and contests are held, said assistant coach Amy Bell, who grew up in Hotchkiss and went on to play volleyball at CSU-Pueblo. When their schedules allow, Paonia partners with Hotchkiss to promote the event. Rangely has also partnered on the event.

Proceeds from donations, sale of tickets for drawings and bake sales and games, as well as gate fees after expenses will go to HopeWest's Delta location. Since 2010 the event has generated about $10,000 for the organization, which offers hospice and palliative care and other social programs to people in their homes, hospitals and assisted living residences.

While the amount that HopeWest will receive from Friday's event isn't yet known, last year's event raised just over $6,000, which was a record.

HopeWest is very grateful, said Bell.

Bell credits junior varsity head coach Kriss Allen for making the event what it is. "She does the majority of the work," said Bell. "She has that kind of heart."

This year's event has a little extra meeting for Paonia's coaches. When Bell was three months pregnant with daughter Loni, she was diagnosed with bladder cancer. Loni turned 1 in September.

"This year it's a little closer to my heart," said Bell.

Some of this year's prizes were donated in recognition of cancer survivors, and in memory of some who didn't survive. This year Bell and her mother, Karen Lacey, both donated prizes.