Flip for the Cure: More than a gymnastics meet
The Kent State gymnastics team will return home Sunday to take on Northern Illinois in the 5th annual Flip for the Cure meet.
Each year, the team dedicates one home meet to raise money for the JD Breast Cancer Foundation of Northeast Ohio.
“The best part is that the money stays locally,” said Sheila Blackman, assistant sports information director.
Blackman said the foundation takes the money raised and helps women battling breast cancer to defray costs of everyday life.
“It helps with things like transportation, groceries and bills,” Blackman said. “It’s good to know that these women actually see the money and it’s really helping someone.”
Angie Seabeck, director of student-athlete development, and Sharon Sabin, assistant coach of the gymnastics team, have been in charge of coordinating the events.
Sabin said there were multiple reasons Kent State decided to start such an event. First, the wife of Rudy Bachna, former head coach and gymnastics legend, is a breast cancer survivor.
Also, Sabin said college gymnastics programs across the country have been doing “pink meets” for a while, and it was time for Kent State to get on board.
“The girls, of course, like wearing pink in a meet because we normally don’t get to,” Sabin said. “Since we’re all female, we thought it’d be a worthwhile cause.”
Last year, the team was able to donate around $5,000. This year, Seabeck said the goal is set higher at $7,000.
To raise money the team sells T-shirts and puts together baskets to be raffled off. Seabeck said this year’s raffle is the biggest yet.
Sabin said the gymnasts have taken a personal and active role in the fundraising efforts. Seabeck said even their families have grown to be connected to the cause and help out leading up to the event.
Over winter break, the gymnasts seek out donations from local businesses or ones in their hometowns. Junior Lindsay Runyan is co-chairing the meet this year and is responsible for coordinating these efforts among the team.
“I’m doing it because I really enjoy helping breast cancer because there are people close to me who have been affected by it,” Runyan said. “I also get an honors credit for community service so it’s kind of a two-for-one.”
The event serves as the rest of the team’s community service project as well.
“I think if it wasn’t their service project the girls would still do it anyway,” Sabin said. “It’s fun for them.”
The gymnastics team isn’t the only organization to get involved in the meet.
“The soccer team has been helping sell T-shirts for their community service,” Seabeck said. “Greek life has taken a huge role and they’re having a social at the event.”
Coach Brice Biggin said this event “is more than just a gymnastics meet,” and he is excited to be able to give back to the community.
“There is really no better reason or time to go out there and have fun and enjoy what we’re doing,” Biggin said. “I expect a great meet. I think we’re due.”
Both Biggin and Runyan agree that although the meet is special, the hype will not be enough to distract the team from what its really there to do: win.
“There’s no added pressure really, but the fact that we bring a lot of people to support us and something bigger than ourselves makes it a little more fun,” Runyan said. “It’s just great to see people come together for something. It’s an experience you remember.”