The ladies of Zeta Tau Alpha plan to turn Youngstown State University pink on Oct. 23 for Pink Out Day in support of National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“We like to do as much as we can to help out the cause,” said ZTA sister Genna Notareschi. “I feel like I am doing something proactive and meaningful to not only help advocate breast cancer awareness and education, but also honor the men and women who have been affected by the sickness.”
ZTA members host the Pink Ribbon Cheer Classic every year. Last year, the event brought in more than $115,000. This year’s Classic is scheduled for Oct. 28.
The Classic is a cheerleading competition among local high school cheerleading teams, community organizations and anyone else who wants to enter.
ZTA adviser Kim Caputo founded the event in 2001 by combining her passion for cheerleading and the sorority to raise money for breast cancer awareness.
Since the first Classic, ZTA has raised more than $700,000, which has been donated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure.
The Classic isn’t a small event either. More than 5,000 spectators gathered to view last year’s competition of more than 90 competitors.
“I was a cheerleader in high school, and I participated for three years,” said ZTA sister Emily Bosela. “That’s actually what drew me into Greek life, so it’s pretty awesome. ”
Many cheerleading groups around the area use the Classic as a practice for even larger competitions.
“It’s really rewarding to know that I was a part of something that was helping donate so much money for an amazing cause and helping women all over,” Bosela said of her experience in the Classic.
Now, Bosela helps host the event.
“There really are no words to describe how wonderful it feels to be a part of something this amazing,” she said. “It gives me chills just thinking about it.”
The Classic is not the only event that ZTA sponsors to help spread the word about breast cancer. At Oktoberfest in Boardman Park on Sept. 30, ZTA sisters passed out pink ribbons and shower cards, and they raffled off baskets to raise money for the cause.
Some ZTA sisters, including Notareschi, will pass out pink ribbons to fans at Cleveland Browns football games. The NFL is one of ZTA’s sponsors.
Student organizations are being asked to think pink and sign up for a cheerleading competition and bra-decorating contest.
“We have opened up the competition to all student organizations, so anyone who wants can participate,” Notareschi said. “Organizations can even team up.”
Pink Out Day is just days before the big Classic, and the sisters have a day packed full of events, including cornhole competitions and bagel-eating contests. They’ll also have pink T-shirts for sale.
“All of us are so thankful to have such an awesome alumnae chapter of Zetas to help us with Breast Cancer Awareness Month,” Notareschi said. “We wouldn’t be able to pull off the Pink Ribbon Cheer Classic without them.”