Women's Basketball Plays For A Cause Sunday Against Alabama
Feb. 16, 2013
AUBURN - The Auburn women's basketball (13-11, 2-9 SEC) team will return to the court Sunday against in-state rival Alabama (12-12, 2-9 SEC) in the annual Pink Zone Game for breast cancer awareness. Tipoff is set for 1:30 p.m. CT, at Auburn Arena with the game airing live on ESPN2.
The game will be special for many reasons. Not only is it a rivalry game, but the Tigers will have the opportunity to recognize one of their greatest players as Becky Jackson, who played at Auburn from 1980-84, will have her jersey retired and added to the Auburn Arena Ring of Honor.
As part of the Pink Zone game, the first 500 fans will receive pink t-shirts and the first 1,000 will receive pink shakers. Pink t-shirts will also be available in the AU Team Shop with proceeds from sales going to the East Alabama Medical Center Breast Cancer Fund.
The Pink Zone, an initiative through the Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), brings awareness to a disease that has impacted almost everyone in one way or another. Sometimes it is a relative or friend with the disease, but sometimes it is just the scare of the possibility as experienced by Auburn junior center Peyton Davis.
While Davis was not diagnosed with cancer, the scare of finding a lump and the lesson of getting it checked early, regardless of your age, is one that almost everyone can learn from.
For most college athletes, the scariest visits to the doctor come after an injury sustained in a game. They go through X-rays and MRIs. They pray for sprains instead of fractures, and strains instead of tears. Most do not have to think about malignant tumors.
For Davis, that reality was shattered in January after she was told she would need surgery to remove a lump from her breast to be sure that it was not cancerous.
"I noticed it like eight months ago, but I never did anything about it," Davis said. "I just figured it would go away because 20-year-olds don't have cancer and don't have to have surgery. It just randomly started to hurt, so I told my mom, `I think I need to go get this checked out.'"
Davis had surgery the morning after playing Alabama earlier this season in Tuscaloosa. While in recovery, Davis' doctor told her he did not think there was anything to worry about, but they would nonetheless send the lump to be tested in case it was malignant. It was not until the ride back to Auburn that the 20-year-old realized the severity of what she had been through.
"I got kind of upset, because it's something that's not supposed to be there," Davis said. "The doctor said it would be like a one in a million shot if it was malignant, but my thought process was, `Somebody has to be that one. Why not me?'"
Fortunately, Davis was not the "one," and the test revealed the mass was benign. While Davis could sigh with relief knowing everything was OK, the experience forever altered her outlook on her health, even at a young age.
"I would definitely recommend doing self-exams," Davis said. "We never hear about people our age having it, but it does happen. People in their 20s get cancer. I just think that more people need to be aware of it. The odds are in your favor that you aren't going to get it, but you still need to be aware so that as you age, you're constantly checking up on it and making sure.
"If you find something abnormal, like I shouldn't have waited eight months like I did. What if it turned out to be something and I had waited that long? Stay on top of your health and talk to your gynecologist."
As Davis and the Tigers prepare for Sunday's breast cancer awareness game against Alabama, wearing pink will carry new meaning for Davis as she hopes her message will help spread the word to women of all ages about the importance of breast health.
"It's kind of hard at times to relate to something when you don't have a direct correlation with it," Davis said. "Nobody in my family has had breast cancer. The closest person I am to somebody that's had breast cancer was Arnika Edwards, who was on our staff last year. I'm not close to it, but having to go through even the slim possibility of `What if this is me?' just hits home that this could affect anybody at any time."
Tickets are still available to Sunday's game with general admission tickets starting at $5. Fans can purchase at the ticket window at Auburn Arena or online at www.AUBTix.com.
Fans can listen to the game on 96.7 FM in Auburn or on AuburnTigers.com with Andy Burcham and Stephanie Follett calling the action. GameTracker will be available on AuburnTigers.com with a live video Webcast on ESPN3.com.
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