Oak Lawn Spartans Fight Back Against Breast Cancer
In a fundraiser to battle breast cancer, Oak Lawn sold T-shirts, put on a raffle and tried to raise awareness during Thursday's basketball event.
Oak Lawn’s 67-59 victory over Oak Forest on Thursday night was big. Not only did the Spartans defeat their south suburban rival, Oak Lawn earned its second conference win on the year.
But it wasn’t the biggest success of the night—not by a large margin. As part of its “Pink Out” event, Oak Lawn raised money through T-shirt sales, raffle drawings and donations to fight breast cancer. It was the second straight season that Oak Lawn’s girls basketball team has organized the breast cancer awareness event in conjunction with a home basketball game.
“It was a big win because we hadn’t beaten (Oak Forest) in a while and because what the game was about and what it was for,” Oak Lawn coach Jan Haubenreiser said. “We try to tell the girls there’s more to life than basketball and how important it is to do things for the good of the cause and to support people when they’re in need.”
The Spartans wore pink jerseys, socks and shorts instead of their typical white home jerseys. The teams even played with a pink and white basketball. Oak Lawn recognized four people associated with the school before the game who have been diagnosed with breast cancer, as Krista Mannion (P.E. teacher), Karen Janecek (dean’s assistant), Jeanette Infusino (cafeteria staff) and Rita Rainsforth-Cosenza, (mother of Oak Lawn junior guard Jessica Consenza) were presented with flowers before tip-off.
The “Pink Out” drew more fans than usual for a girls basketball home game, and the players were excited to play in front of a big crowd.
“It was great; the crowd was awesome,” sophomore guard LaTondra Brooks said. “It was a really fun game, especially at home to win on our home court.”
Yet the big crowd was something that worried Haubenreiser.
“Something like this sometimes can backfire,” Haubenreiser said. “It can be a huge distraction and their heads can be somewhere else. We talked a lot this week about focusing on the game and funneling that energy into a win.”
The official tally of how much money was raised will be determined after counting ticket sales and the number of raffle tickets sold on Thursday. Haubenreiser says they plan to continue the annual tradition, but she’d like one minor change for next year.
“This year we recognized two more staff members and a parent who had been diagnosed since (last year),” Haubenreiser said. “We recognized more people. Our hope is that we don’t have to recognize anybody new next year.”