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Who Do You Bench For?

Students show their support and raise money for breast cancer awareness

Co-Editor-in-Chief and Co-News Editor

Published: Sunday, December 8, 2013

Updated: Sunday, December 8, 2013 16:12

   The sixth annual Benching for Breast Cancer Fundraiser will take place Friday, December 6 at 5:30 p.m. in the Hart Center’s Varsity Weight Room at the College of the Holy Cross. Registration begins at 5 p.m. on the day of the event, and online pre-registration is encouraged. The participation fee is $10 per person, which includes a donation and a free long-sleeved t-shirt.

   Working in teams of four, students solicit donation pledges based on how much weight they think they can lift. The teams challenge each other in lifting, and scores are mathematically calculated and compared based on participant’s weight. While wearing a costume, they compete against other teams lifting weights for prizes in three categories:  best team costume, most enthusiastic team, most money raised, and most weight lifted for males and females.

   Last year, approximately 545 students participated in the event and raised more than $2,500. Michelle McGahan, ’15, Co-Chair of HC for a Cure and organizer of the event, said this year the main goal is to raise awareness about breast cancer and focus the event on the students’ reasons for participating. “We’ve invited survivors to the event,” she said. This year the event organizers are creating a wall titled, “Who do you bench for?”

   “We hope that students write names, bring pictures to post, or bring anything they have that reminds them of why they participate in this event,” McGahan explained. McGahan’s favorite part of the event is the candlelight ceremony in the middle of the benching competition. For about 10 minutes everyone is reminded of why this great event is happening. It is important to remember the purpose of bringing together survivors and supporters.

   McGahan is benching for her mother, who lost her battle with breast cancer 10 years ago. “She was an amazing woman with a contagious positive attitude,” shared McGahan. “For almost my entire life, my family and I have participated in the Making Strides walk in Boston, and when I came to Holy Cross, I decided to get more involved in the cause. That’s when I found HC for a Cure. When they asked me to help organize and run the event, I was more than happy to help.”

   McGahan and Andrew McAward, ’15, another student organizer and a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), say the goal is for all participants to reflect on their own experiences with breast cancer to spread awareness of the necessity to fight the battle.

“I have had relatives that have battled with cancer,” says McAward. “Partaking in events, such as Benching for Breast Cancer and Relay for Life, have truly defined my time here at Holy Cross.”

   Some students may be hesitant about participating in Benching for Breast Cancer because they feel intimidated about lifting. However, the event emphasizes coming together to support a great cause, not simply showing one’s physical strength. All students of any athletic ability are strongly encouraged to sign up. The enthusiasm and spirit during Benching for Breast Cancer make this event so welcoming to the entire Holy Cross community. “The event is one of very few events on campus that brings so many students together for the same cause in such a short period of time,” said McGahan. “The event only lasts about an hour and 15 minutes. There is so much going on around you with at least 15 benches going at the same time and free food to have conversations with other Holy Cross students.” The atmosphere at the event is incredible each year.

   All proceeds from the event will benefit Pink Revolution, a Worcester-based breast cancer alliance of dedicated individuals with a unified commitment to those touched by breast cancer.

A varsity men’s ice hockey game against Air Force Academy will follow the event at 7 p.m. in the Hart Center’s ice rink.

   Benching for Breast Cancer is sponsored by the Student Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) and HC for a Cure.  SAAC is a group of student leaders made up of representatives from each varsity team on campus. They work with the NCAA and provide an athlete’s perspective on the recruitment process, eligibility, and other regulations that affect athletes.

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