There may not have been a week of games, pep rally or Friday night football game to attend, but that did not stop Stamford High from completing its annual tradition of raising money for cancer awareness in the month of October.
This year, organizers were forced to find new ways to spread awareness and raise money for the cause, bringing in over $5,000 which was donated to Stamford Hospital.
The “Pink Out” held once a year during a Friday night football game is generally the most popular nights of the year for Stamford sports with more students coming to that game than any other all season.
It not only serves as a school-wide coming together but also raises money through donations and t-shirt sales.
“Before I got here, the school had set the precedent that this was the biggest event of the school year,” Stamford athletic director Chris Passamano said. “The ‘Pink Out’ at the football game is the biggest night of the year. Last year we decided to make it a week so all sports could participate. Along with the coming together of all the students it is great to give back directly to our community. This money is going right across the street to the hospital. Cancer has touched almost everyone in our community in some way. My mom has had it twice and beaten it twice and I know it is personal for so many people.”
While it started out with just a fan-event at a football game, last year it expanded to include all fall sports at the school.
Last year during the week, the school hosted varsity contests with staggered start times on weekdays with field hockey at 4 p.m. and girls soccer at 6:30 and another day with girls volleyball at 6 and boys soccer at 6:30. Those games were leading to the big event in the form of a home football game Friday night.
Each game drew a large crowd of students decked out in pink, especially for football which saw its biggest home crowd of the season turn out for the “Pink Out.”
Last year the event being stretched over a week brought big crowds to every fall sport and helped raise just over $9,000 which was given to Stamford Hospital.
In previous years, the money has gone to other cancer-related charities, but since 2018 has been donated to Stamford Hospital.
This year, with no football game, no pep rally, no fans at any games and half of the students learning at home every day, adjustments were made on how money was raised.
This year, Stamford donated $5,260 to Stamford Hospital as part of the campaign.
The money was presented by Passamano and Stamford principal Raymond Manka to Robin Druckman from Stamford Health’s “Paint the Town Pink” and Gayle Alswanger, the director of development at the Bennett Cancer Center.
While it was less raised than in years past, the donations this fall pushed the total raised to over $80,000 since 2013.
The campaign began under the guidance of former athletic director Jim Moriarty and has continued in the years since, growing each fall.
Girls basketball coach Diane Burns works with students to design the t-shirts and is, according to Passamano, “the driving force behind this whole thing.”
For Burns it is just about raising awareness for a worthy cause.
“It is very cool to watch the school come together. There isn’t anything else that brings so many kids together here at Stamford. It’s not just one group of kids and not just athletes, it’s everybody,” Burns said. “Most years it is all about painting their faces and wearing pink and taking pictures but this year I think a little more focus was put on what we are actually doing and where the money is going.”
Normally, t-shirts reading “Stamford Strong” are sold in the cafeteria or at football games but because of COVID restrictions, this year t-shirt sales were mostly limited to online only.
“We didn’t know how much we would be able to do this year but what we were able to raise a good amount of money,” Passamano said. “Instead of pep rallies and football games we spread the word through social media and e-mail blasts. The ‘Pink Out’ is a pivotal moment every year and we wanted to keep that going this year.”