Gymnastics Preps for “Flip For the Cure”
On Sunday, Feb. 19, the Kent State gymnastics team will host its fifth annual "Flip For the Cure" fundraiser when the Golden Flashes host Northern Illinois at 1 p.m. in the MAC Center. Since beginning back in 2008, the "Flip For the Cure" event has become a marquee event both on campus and in the community to unite people in helping women in the area defeat the deadly disease.
Over the past four years, Kent State has raised over $10,000 to help organizations in their efforts to assist those suffering from breast cancer. For the second consecutive year, the money the Golden Flashes raise through "Flip For the Cure" will go to the Cleveland-based J.D. Breast Cancer Foundation, which helps low-income women in Northeast Ohio make ends meet while going through cancer treatments. The money helps the women, among other things, pay rent and utilities, transportation and childcare.
For families that are struggling financially, the expense of cancer treatments is too great of a burden on top of daily costs. That can mean an individual has no choice but to bypass treatment.
Prior to last year's event, the gymnastics team had the chance to talk to the founders of J.D. Breast Cancer Foundation, and that discussion showed how important the efforts of the Golden Flashes were to the organization.
"(J.D. Breast Cancer Foundation) told us that they had a stack of cases they were prepared to call that day to tell women they didn't have the funds to help them," said Kent State gymnastics assistant coach Sharon Sabin, who spearheads the fundraiser every year. "And with our check, they were able to provide assistance to 10 women they were going to turn away. There aren't words to describe that our efforts made an immediate impact on our community."
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The gymnastics team relies on local merchants to donate items, which are assembled into raffle baskets; the squad also sells pink t-shirts to help raise funds as well as awareness. Last year, over 1,200 fans attended Kent State's "Flip For the Cure" meet against Western Michigan, and over $5,000 was raised from t-shirt sales and 30 raffle baskets.
Along with t-shirts and baskets, the gymnasts are adding an auction of piggy banks the student-athletes have decorated for the February event.
Already recognized regionally and in the gymnastics community after the team's first-ever appearance at the 2011 NCAA Championships in Cleveland, Ohio, Kent State hopes their success in competition last season will help elevate the team's fundraising efforts for this year's event. The team's fundraising goal for 2012 is $7,000, one that organizers hope to conquer.
"I think it's easily attainable," said Angie Seabeck, Kent State's Director of Student-Athlete Development and "Flip For the Cure" co-director along with Sabin. "The City of Kent and campus communities continue to embrace the event, and we're able to do more as well as have a bigger reach for people that really need assistance."
As word spreads of the "Flip For the Cure" impact, more campus organizations are getting involved. This year the Kent State University Women's Center has joined in, and event organizers expect an increase from last year's sorority participation to extend to other Greek clubs, including fraternities.
Approximately one in eight women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime, which means the illness can hit close to home. Lynn Bachna, wife of Kent State gymnastics patriarch Rudy Bachna, is a breast cancer survivor, which helped give the gymnastics program the jump-start to embrace the cause.
Junior Lindsay Runyan, who was named the Mid-American Conference's Specialist of the Year in 2011, is assisting with many of the behind-the-scenes tasks leading up to the Feb. 19 event.
"It's important to the team. We are able to use what we are good at, give back to the community, and have fun at the same time."
"My mom's best friend passed away from breast cancer, and my good friend's mom from high school is a breast cancer survivor. Helping find a cure and helping those with breast cancer is something that's very important to me."
Along with being a guest of Kent State gymnastics, breast cancer survivors will have an opportunity to share their story with the fans prior to the meet. Fans wearing pink attire will receive a discounted rate on admission; and the fan deemed the "pinkest fan" wins a prize for their spirited garb.
For more information on the J.D. Breast Cancer Foundation, visit