Sailfish Softball Gives Back At Making Strides Palm Beach
October 18, 2016
Written by: Will Johansen, Sports Information Assistant
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla.- This past Saturday, Oct. 15, members of the Palm Beach Atlantic softball squad came together as a team off the field for a very special occasion. The girls participated in the annual “Making Strides Palm Beach” walk throughout Downtown West Palm Beach.
Every Making Strides event is an incredible and inspiring opportunity to unite as a community to honor and celebrate breast cancer survivors, raise awareness about the disease, and raise money to help the American Cancer Society save lives from breast cancer by funding groundbreaking breast cancer research, providing free comprehensive information and support, and helping people take steps to reduce their risk of the disease or find it early when it’s most treatable.
While it was a special moment for the entire team, the day was extra special for one Sailfish in particular, senior pitcher Nikki Brinegar.
From the moment my coach initially said my Sailfish sisters and I were going to be attending a Breast Cancer Walk this season, I was filled with excitement and joy. In February 2016, my mom had been diagnosed with Stage 2 Breast Cancer. Although only stage two, it was still such a heartbreaking and difficult time in my life. From the initial diagnosis to both surgeries she had undergone in a matter of a couple of months, she had been completely worn down both physically and mentally. Her surgeons were incredibly proactive about the entire diagnosis, which has led her to be “cancer free”. Although there is always a possibility of it coming back, I know there are many who are not as lucky as my mom’s diagnosis was. Many people didn’t have the early detection or the medical background she had to know that something just wasn’t right. That is why I was thrilled for the opportunity to help give back to those who were not as lucky, and to walk to raise awareness for something bigger than ourselves.
When we got to the event, the color pink filled the streets. It was such a beautiful sight to see everyone decked out in all of their breast cancer awareness gear, whether it meant crazy pink tutus, crazy socks or their individualized pink shirts. You could just feel the love when you walked into the main area. People had showed up from all over to show their support for the women who have been diagnosed. Everyone at the event was so passionate and excited to be there, it was truly amazing. One of the most incredible things was the survivors in their white sash. Seeing them out there supporting awareness for something that nearly took their lives, just to raise awareness and to help find a cure was heart-warming. My team showed up decked out in pink ribbons, bandanas, shirts, socks, and bows ready to represent something that has effected so many women and men in the world. I showed up in pink war paint and pink sequins on my face and all of our freshmen wanted the exact same thing. The fact that the girls on my team were so open to wearing pink in every way they possibly could warmed my heart.
The race itself was nothing short of amazing. All the spirited individuals that were walking or running the 5k were strutting with pride in their pink attire. There was a lot of love as people chanted, laughed and just talked about what was happening. The pink fire truck that was along the side of the road during the race was my favorite. All of the participants in the walk signed their names on the truck as they passed by. One of the girls on my team, Kayla Knight, stated that we should write my mom’s name on the side of truck and have all of the girls on the team sign next to it. After I wrote her name and signed my own, I started to tear up a little as I watched the rest of my teammates proceed to signing their own name and I understood how much these races must mean to the survivors themselves. The experience was unforgettable and although it was my first race, it most definitely won’t be my last.