Ospreys show support with pink jerseys

Spinnaker

The UNF softball players donned light pink jerseys for the Santa Fe Community College doubleheader Sept. 27 to raise cancer awareness. The project began after senior catcher Ashley Battaglia’s mother was diagnosed with breast cancer this June.

The doctors caught the cancer at its earliest stage, and Battaglia’s mother had a double mastectomy surgery in September, Battaglia said. Her mother starts chemotherapy in October.

“My mom is the most influential person in my life and definitely the strongest woman I know,” Battaglia said. “As an obstacle in my mom’s life, she is handling this situation better than I thought. Cancer is definitely the scariest word you can ever hear when it has to do with a family member or a friend.”

Battaglia said softball has helped her cope through these tough times.

“As soon as I walk through the fence, I know that all of my problems go away,” she said. “Softball definitely keeps my mind busy.”

The team and some of the upperclassmen gave me the idea for this project, head coach Marcie
Hickey said.

“With everything that Ashley was going through, I thought it was a good way for us to show support for her and her family,” Hickey said.

Battaglia said she was touched when the team told her about the project.

“It inspired me to do a lot more with my mom being diagnosed,” she said. “It means a lot to me because it was hard for me to come back to school with everything going on. It kept me going.”

The jerseys were a light pink T-shirt, which read “UNF softball” in navy blue on the front and had each player’s number on the back.

The team also sold light pink T-shirts for $15 at the game to raise money for the American Cancer Society for Breast Cancer Research, she said. Hickey said the T-shirt sales exceeded their expectations.

Once the project is done, approximately 300 shirts will be sold and an estimated $2,400 will be donated to the ACS, she said.

“A lot of people donated money without even buying a shirt,” Hickey said. “[And the] people that bought shirts gave money on top of a t-shirt order, so that allowed us to make even more.”

The T-shirts are similar to the jerseys and say “Knocking cancer out of the field” instead of the players’ numbers, Hickey said.

A lot of the fans purchasing the T-shirts wore them to the games and the Santa Fe team showed its support by wearing pink wristbands, she said.

Hickey was impressed with the intiative the team took with the project, she said.

“[They] not only brought the idea to me, but put the whole project together,” she said. “It was really impressive how they all stepped up for their teammate.”

The team won both games against Santa Fe and starts its spring season in February at the University of South Florida tournament.

E-mail Laura Franco at [email protected]