PINK PRIDE: 1 in 8

1 in 8

I was a sophomore in college, hanging out in the locker room with my volleyball team. It was October and we were closing in on a spot to go to the conference tournament. We were dancing to our warm-up CD, laughing, getting pumped up for our game.

PINK ribbons and PINK headbands decorated our hair.

PINK socks peeked out from underneath our ankle braces.

PINK sports bras hid under our home jerseys, close to our hearts.

It was the very first PINK PRIDE match in university history, but in the locker room, it was just another home match. We were focused on beating our rivals to improve our conference ranking, talking excitably about our game plan.

Then a familiar knock sounded at the door, asking permission to enter. At our answer, our coach walked in. He had traded in his usually red polo for a PINK one. He also had a PINK ribbon pinned to it, just above our athletics logo, near his heart.

He asked us to sit to listen to what we thought was our usual pre-match pep talk.

"1 in 8 women will have some form of breast cancer in her life. Take a minute to look around the room. Look at your teammates, your friends, your roommates."

Our stunned silence filled the room as we looked around and realized: our team was made of 16.

"Two of you will have some form of breast cancer in your life," he continued, almost choking up.

"Remember why you wear PINK."

With that, he walked out of the locker room, leaving us to think.

At that moment, it became real. This is why we wear PINK during October. We are not invincible. You aren't too young to have breast cancer. You aren't too fit to have breast cancer. You aren't too busy or too important, or too anything to have it.

We show our PINK PRIDE to raise awareness, to fight for those who are battling, to celebrate those who are survivors, because individually, we are not invincible, but together, we are strong.

To those who are fighting, I've got your back.