Spreading pink beyond the campus

Moments+before+the+beginning+of+the+Downey+vs.+Warren+Dig+Pink+volleyball+game%2C+on+Sept.+27+in+the+gym%2C+the+Lady+Vikes+come+together+for+their+ritual+huddle.+Throughout+the+years%2C+the+team+has+been+able+to+raise+a+total+of+%2417%2C000+in+support+for+finding+a+cure+for+breast+cancer.

Norma Flores

Moments before the beginning of the Downey vs. Warren Dig Pink volleyball game, on Sept. 27 in the gym, the Lady Vikes come together for their ritual huddle. Throughout the years, the team has been able to raise a total of $17,000 in support for finding a cure for breast cancer.

Marilyn Ramirez, Copy Editor/Co-Editor-in-Chief

No longer just a school event, the annual Dig Pink girls’ volleyball match has spread out much farther over the years, reaching out to the entire Downey community. The girls hosted their game on Thursday, Sept. 27 at 7:00 p.m. in the gym, where a flood of pink greeted attendees. The Lady Vikings played against Warren, defeating them in all three sets with Joy Miley leading her DHS team to victory.

The game alone would have shown an admirable degree of unity alone, as the girls maintained the lead throughout the majority of the game and had quite a few blocks, spikes, and sudden dives that left the crowd entertained.

“It was really something watching my school’s volleyball team show so much teamwork like they did,” Tania Salgado, 9, said. “I would be really proud to play a huge part in an event like this.”

A heightened factor, however, was the greater reason why hundreds of people were in the stands that night: to represent the support for the fight against breast cancer. The weeks leading up to the event were spent making posters for the match, hanging an enlarged banner outside the campus gates, and posting news flyers for support from the Downey community.

 

“The first time I saw a poster, I thought it was going to be a regular volleyball game just as a small fundraiser for a breast cancer cure,” sophomore Lucy Mendoza said.

Like Mendoza, attendees could see the surprise of how enormous the Dig Pink match would actually be as they walked through the doors of the gymnasium. Coach Sims offered t-shirts for ten dollars apiece the days leading to the game to students, faculty and staff, and Downey citizens.

Finally, as Thursday evening came along, hundreds of people would recognize that they were not only supporting a worthy cause but also coming together as a community. The cross-town rivals could not be singled out in their Dig Pink t-shirts; what mattered was not the heated competition between Warren and Downey, but instead the competition between them-alongside their community-and breast cancer.

“This is the one time where I don’t care if my school wins or loses a match,” Warren senior Destiny Chase said. “The point of doing this is to get people to care.”

One important factor of the game is an announcement of those affected by breast cancer, whether survivors, relatives of survivors, or those in remembrance who fought it on. 60-year-old Jeremy Clemens and wife Marissa Clemens did not go down to the court to be recognized, yet they have attended the Dig Pink games since its initiation.

“Our daughter attended Warren back in ‘82 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer,” Mr. Clemens said. “It was just awful. To be so young and not have the same chance that every other healthy teen has of going to college and just growing up is something no parent should ever have to go through.”

He and his wife hold a hopeful outlook, however, for other families going through what they had.

“I look at how this community has grown and am just in awe,” Mrs. Clemens said. “There is so much love and a tie that Downey didn’t have before. It makes us stronger against what we couldn’t stop for [our daughter]; this team and this school have no idea how much they’ve influenced all of us over the years.”

It is not only DHS and the girls’ volleyball team with Sims that have influenced the City of Downey; it is those that have chosen to support and participate in Dig Pink for all these years without expecting anything in return. It is the hope that those like the Clemens, who have been affected by breast cancer, and survivors bring about, shaping the way we unite to help one another.