All over campus on Friday, October 19, students were wearing the color pink. On Saturday, both the Boys’ and Girls’ Varsity soccer teams will wear pink jerseys in their games against Governor’s Academy for St. Mark’s Family Weekend. All this is in support of the Coaches vs. Cancer program, co-sponsored by the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. At St. Mark’s, the effort was spearheaded by the Coach Neil Cifuentes and his Boys’ Varsity soccer players.
“I was thinking about what kind of community service the team could do,” said Coach Cifuentes, in his sixth season at the helm of the Boys’ Varsity soccer program. “I had lost two of my favorite people to cancer, including my Uncle Bill this past spring. He was one of the most influential men in my life and his death was a blow to my family.” Cifuentes decided to present the idea of supporting Coaches vs. Cancer to his players. “I was surprised and very pleased by their reaction,” he said. “They were so totally enthusiastic about the project.”
The St. Mark’s soccer players sold 280 pink “Hope, Love, Cure” t-shirts to raise money to fight cancer. The Girls’ Varsity soccer players joined with the boys, and every player on each team purchased their own pink St. Mark’s soccer jersey to wear in this Saturday’s games. It was truly an endeavor which brought together St. Mark’s athletes from several different teams and in different sports, as V Former Charlotte Clayson, a field hockey player, designed the shirts.
In addition to shirt sales, a number of individual donations were made to the cause. Overall, the St. Markers raised more than $3000 to support cancer research. “It was very cool,” said Coach Cifuentes. “The kids really rallied around the whole project.”