Crusaders Bench For A Cure
By Emily Iannaconi
Special to GoHolyCross.com
Biology exam on Wednesday, English test on Thursday and two final papers due before midnight on Friday. Holy Cross student-athletes have a lot on their plate at this time of year as their usually hectic schedules are even busier due to end of semester exams. Despite the heavy workload, everyone knew that a study break had to be taken on the night of Dec. 9 on the last day of classes. Students put the books and papers aside and headed up to the Luth Athletic Complex to participate in the ninth annual Benching for Breast Cancer.
The long lines displayed how dedicated the Crusaders are. Teams came together dressed in different and imaginative costumes to show their spirit and support for the cause. And the support was impressive as the event raised a record $4,000.
The highly anticipated event is sponsored by HC for a Cure and the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. The proceeds benefited Pink Revolution, a Worcester-based breast cancer alliance of dedicated individuals with a unified commitment to those who have been affected by breast cancer. Because most student-athletes know someone who has been personally affected by this disease, everyone came together to show their support and fight for a cause that has touched the lives of so many.
Registration began at 5:00 p.m. and the lifting started at 5:30 p.m. Crusaders arrived early though, ready to begin benching. By donating $15, participants received a Benching for Breast Cancer t-shirt upon their arrival.
Upon entering the Sports Performance room, the usually prominent Crusader purple was complemented by pink and various signs that read “Work up a Sweat, Give Cancer a Threat” and “Big or Small, We Bench for Them All.”
Junior member of the men’s soccer team Nicholas Cestaro knows that Benching for Breast Cancer is an event that cannot be missed. “I think Benching for Breast Cancer is important because it unites the whole school, athletes and non-athletes, and gives everyone the chance to come together and raise money for a good cause,” said Cestaro.
When participants are not benching, they enjoyed the atmosphere of the event or they wrote the names of people who they know have been affected by breast cancer on the “Who Do You Bench For?” wall.
Senior member of the football team Kyle Young shared who he benched for. “I bench for Bonnie McGuire, one of my teammate’s moms who unfortunately lost her battle with cancer about two years ago.”
Volleyball senior Mandy Sifferlen explained why she participates. “It’s a really fun event that gets together the entire athletic community on our campus,” said Sifferlen. “We are willing to do anything we can to help out.”
One of the co-chairs of Benching for Breast Cancer, senior member of the track and field team Matthew Liguori, was proud of how the event came together this year as students were able to both have fun and remember the significance of the cause for which they were fighting. “Benching is always on the last day of classes each year so it’s a good way for students to destress and come together to support a great cause,” said Liguori. “We always have a good time between the costume contest and the food and music. It’s also important to remember why we’re here, which makes the candle light ceremony an important part of the night.”
About half-way through the night, head sports performance coach Jeff Oliver thanked everyone for participating, noting that events such as this make Holy Cross students special. Oliver talked about the great enthusiasm that Holy Cross students have for this event every year. “The students here are passionate about community service and good works,” said Oliver. “During the candlelight ceremony, I often look at the faces of our students where I see their true concern, compassion and reflection and realize how fortunate I am to be surrounded by them every day!”
Afterwards, field hockey senior Gabriella Smith and football senior Dean Doe performed two songs during the candle light ceremony as students held candles to represent who they were benching for. The ceremony was concluded with a reading by Father Gavin.
Smith, who also performed at Benching for Breast Cancer last year, feels humbled to have been able to sing at the event for the second straight year. “It’s an honor to perform at Benching for Breast Cancer because everyone is here for a good reason and it’s for a cause that has affected a lot of people in many ways,” said Smith. “Seeing the looks on everyone’s faces after singing and having the opportunity to be together in that moment gives me hope that we can come together and beat this disease.”
Despite the different sports they play and various activities they are involved in, the Crusaders came together as one to help bench for a cure in what proved to be another successful and inspirational Benching for Breast Cancer.