Spearheaded by the efforts of the Charlotte volleyball coaches and players, aided by the collaborative work within and around the 49ers Athletics department, combined with the kind generosity and outpouring of support from family, friends and the community, the tally achieved for this year's Dig Pink campaign so far has breached $12,200, already a fundraising record by the school for the cause.
Dig Pink, originally started as Dig for the Cure at Charlotte in 2002, has been raising funds and awareness for Breast Cancer Research, culminating with the annual Dig Pink match at a selected home match in October, which is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
"This year's Dig Pink event was amazing with the efforts of our team, the Department, our 49ers teams and the community," said Charlotte head coach Chris Redding. "We are among the leaders if not the number-one team in the country again for this event, adding another single-match attendance record. Each year this event continues to get bigger, gain more momentum and notoriety and to do more good and I couldn't be more pleased with it. I am thankful to the community and their help with us in these efforts."
The volleyball team went out to Carolina Panthers tailgating activities in September, solicited donations at local businesses and held the third-annual "Jail and Bail" on campus in early October to "hold campus celebrities hostage" to assist in raising donations.
This year's Dig Pink match, versus Butler on October 11, set a single-match attendance record of 1,813 fans, breaking consecutive record attendance numbers in the 2010 and 2011 matches. This year, the team wore customized pink jerseys, donated by clothier Under Armour and High Point, N.C. screen printer Team Connection, which were auctioned off following the match with all winning bids donated to Dig Pink.
The Charlotte men's soccer program held a similar night on October 19 with a game-worn pink jersey auction and sale of other soccer-related items with all monies going back to the cause. Through the efforts of the players and their families at that match, they raised an additional $2,300 at the game. The men's soccer program also contributed nearly another $1,000 in online donations through their solicitations.
The grand total credited to Charlotte is expected to reach close to or just over $13,000. The 49ers were the top fundraising program in the country two of the last three seasons. No team has reached this total in the program's history.
The program lasted six years at Charlotte, originally spearheaded by then-coach Lisa Marston, who organized matches across teams in conference and around the country. In that span, with teams on the high school and collegiate levels joining the cause, the program raised nearly $600,000 nationwide. The program merged with The Side-Out Foundation in 2009, of which Marston serves on the Board of Directors. The Foundation is a 501 c3 Non-Profit charity that promoted events to raise money for breast cancer translational research and community support services. Since 2004, that entity, with the help of Marston's Dig for the Cure army of teams, along with other programs and tournaments from the around the country, has amassed over $4.8 million in gifts prior this season.