September rushed by us, taking with it the last moments of summer; and with the flip of a page it’s already October. Take a deep breath and look around, things are changing everywhere on campus, but most notably in the offices of Centre Athletics. With the rebranding and expansion of Centre Athletics as a whole, there has been a renewed sense of vigor and enthusiasm felt throughout their offices. Last month, this took the form of Gold Out Week.
In September of 2015, Centre Football held a fundraiser game benefitting UK Pediatrics’ Cancer Awareness. This year, building on that initial effort, student-athletes and coaches across campus came together to host this weeklong event known as Gold Out Week. Beginning on Sunday, September 18 with Centre Volleyball hosting Birmingham-Southern, the week included games by Men’s Soccer and ended with a series of victories that Saturday. Centre Women’s Soccer’s had a 4-0 blowout over Oglethorpe, followed by Field Hockey’s 2-0 victory over Roanoke, and yet another runaway win by Centre Football (49-27) over the Chicago Maroons.
Spearheaded by Head Softball Coach Ashley Taylor, Associate Athletic Director Andrew Gavin, and Athletic Director Brad Fields, the Gold Out Week initiative sponsored nine families currently battling or having beat Pediatric Cancer. Five of these were actually able to come out, see campus, and join the Centre community in raising awareness and funds for Pediatric Cancer.
According to Coach Taylor, “This is truly a combined effort from the Centre Athletics Family.”
Athletes and coaches from nearly every team on campus put together a video for the families unable to attend, sending encouragement and letting the children know that this week, Centre played for them.
Many athletes even remarked that the kids they helped sponsor for Gold Out Week are a major source of inspiration and strength in their daily lives. A lot of these families have personal ties to the school; Defensive Coordinator Carter Conley’s wife works directly with patients of Pediatric Cancer at UK Children’s hospital and “has been an integral part in connecting us with the families” said Taylor. It really speaks to Centre’s continued commitment to service and growth to have students, coaches, and family members all across campus seize such opportunities to benefit the community.
The numbers are still coming in, but during Gold Out Week, over 2,000 dollars were raised for the Kids Cancer Alliance and Camp Horsin’ Around, both groups benefitting Pediatric Cancer. For the entirety of the week, Centre sold Gold Out t-shirts donated by Tenth Planet which enabled 100% of the proceeds to go directly to the organizations. Another display of unity by Centre athletics–a basket with sports gear from every team on campus was raffled off, and the Centre Football team auctioned a signed football helmet that went for 500 dollars.
The organizations Centre chose to support both work to give children with cancer a fun camping experience like any other child’s. For these groups, quality of life, recreation, and personal growth should not be impeded by illness, and they’ve taken it upon themselves to ensure that. Having local roots, both of these organizations are non-profits formed by Kentuckians, and serving children in KY and surrounding states.
Reflecting upon the Gold Out week serves as an important reminder to the Centre community to value the privileges we often take for granted. As we continue with the many challenges college life presents, it is good to be thankful for the opportunities we have and see how we can use these to best serve others