Bulldog Athletics promotes health care, breast cancer awareness during Saturday contests

BIG RAPIDS – The Ferris State University Athletics department is holding “Health Care Awareness Day” in conjunction with an athletics tripleheader on Saturday (Feb. 16) in the Ewigleben Sports Complex, located on the University’s Big Rapids campus. Health Care Awareness Day also coincides with Ferris’ “Think Pink Day,” which will take place during the basketball doubleheader.

Bulldog Athletics will be partnering with the colleges of Allied Health, Optometry and Pharmacy for “Health Care Awareness Day.” As part of the day’s activities, informational and screening events will be conducted from 1 to 8 p.m. free of charge for fans attending the day’s contests. “Think Pink Day” is an initiative sponsored by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association to promote breast cancer awareness.

The Ferris women’s and men’s basketball teams host Lake Superior State in Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference action at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., respectively, in Jim Wink Arena. The Bulldog hockey team then hosts Miami (Ohio), which was ranked No. 1 in the nation last week, with the puck for the Central Collegiate Hockey Association encounter set to drop at 7:05 p.m. in the Ewigleben Ice Arena.

“Health Care Awareness Day” will feature informational displays and materials on a variety of medical areas, including diabetes, immunizations, heartburn, hypertension, oral health and eye health. In addition, diabetes, hypertension, oral cancer and general health screenings will be performed by students and professional staff from the colleges.

The screenings will take place in the lobby area between Jim Wink Arena and the Ewigleben Ice Arena and overlap the times of both the basketball and hockey events. Free parking will be available until 5:30 p.m., after which time regular parking rates will be enforced for Bulldog hockey.

The free community health screening event will also help Ferris Athletics support an important NCAA strategic objective of community outreach by member schools.

“This free inter-professional community health screening event, held in conjunction with Ferris home basketball and hockey games, clearly helps FSU meet the NCAA strategic objective of community outreach by member schools; and to our knowledge, it is the only of event of its kind at an NCAA school in Michigan, and quite possibly one of the few of its kind in the nation,” said Eric Jarvi, assistant dean and department head of Pharmaceutical Services in Ferris’ College of Pharmacy.

NCAA Division II athletic programs across the nation have been working together for the past 12 to 18 months to use the athletic department of each member institution as a bridge to the local community, according to Ferris Athletics Director Tom Kirinovic.

“This community engagement concept integrates the Athletics programs and the University as the ‘town square’ of the community,” he said. “We are excited to have begun to develop this relationship with our Allied Health academic staff and for this activity to be the kick-off event for the Ferris/Big Rapids NCAA Community Engagement movement.”

Ferris State Athletics will be donating $1 from each paid ticket sold during the basketball “Think Pink Day” effort to benefit the Susan P. Wheatlake Women’s Cancer and Wellness Fund, which will have representatives at the contest. The Susan P. Wheatlake Women’s Cancer and Wellness Center , which is a comprehensive and integrated Mecosta County Medical Center resource, supports women during the prevention, diagnosis, treatment and recovery from cancer physically, medically and emotionally, as well as financially. Services and funding for the center are provided through a collaborative partnership between the Mecosta County Medical Center and its foundation.

All surviving cancer patients are encouraged to attend “Think Pink Day” and wear pink for free admission to the basketball doubleheader. A variety of activities will take place in conjunction with the event. Additionally, the Bulldog women’s basketball team and staff will wear special pink attire including shoelaces, socks and T-shirts to help support the cause. Everyone is encouraged to wear pink throughout the day in support of all breast cancer survivors.

More information on “Think Pink Day” activities may also be found at www.ferris.edu/htmls/sports/bbwomen/0708news/thinkpink.htm.

13 February, 2008