SYRACUSE, N.Y. (NCC NEWS) – Jamesville-DeWitt High School bills its sports teams as the Red Rams. But Monday night, for one night only, they chose a different color.
When the Red Rams hosted the Cortland Purple Tigers in girls’ volleyball action, the gym was filled with pink. Pink warm-up jerseys, pink balloons, and pink fans. The players enjoyed the change of pace.
“Oh yeah, it’s so nice,” said J-D’s co-captain Sophia Ferris. “I love the color pink.”
It was all part of the team’s sixth annual “Pink Out” to raise money for cancer charities. This year’s proceeds? One hundred and seventy dollars. It’s a much smaller yield than most years; the school thinks the 40-minute drive from Cortland to DeWitt brought fewer fans through the doors than usual. But for Sophia and her mom, head coach Patty Ferris, it’s about more than just money.
“My grandmother is a survivor,” the younger Ferris said. “My other grandma, she unfortunately passed away from breast cancer.”
“By the time she was diagnosed, it was Stage Four, and it was pretty far along,” explained Coach Ferris. “And so we knew we had just a couple precious years with her. And it, um, it took her life.”
J-D’s other co-captain, Natalie Goodson, lost her grandfather to mesothelioma two years ago. Her other grandfather is battling skin cancer. But he got to see her play Monday.
“He comes to every game,” Goodson said, “and like, this one just meant that much more knowing that he’s pushing through all these things.”
J-D beat Cortland in a clean three sets to none. Ferris lead her team with five kills and five digs; Goodson served a team-high four aces and also had five digs. The Pink Rams fought not just for themselves, and not just for those who are fighting cancer, but for those who can no longer fight.
“You kinda just take an extra moment, and you think about the people who aren’t in the gym,” said Coach Ferris. “They would be very proud. I know my mother-in-law would be so incredibly proud of my daughter. She would be here cheering. This has taken her, and she didn’t get a chance to be here, so you’re kind of, like, you’re doing it for the people that aren’t here. And it just makes it all that better that we get to do something in honor of them.”