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Wednesday, March 5, 2014
Cool shoes for a worthy cause

By Rebecca Greenwell

Duke got decked out for its Play 4Kay game against Maryland.

DURHAM, N.C. -- If you have watched any women's basketball recently, then I know you've heard the term “Play 4Kay.’' You've probably noticed the variety of unique pink uniforms and, even more, the crazy styles of basketball shoes the players are sporting. All the buzz and show is about drawing attention to a cause that is near and dear to those who have been affected in some way by cancer.

So who is Kay? Kay Yow is the former N.C. State women’s basketball coach, past president and founding member of the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), and probably most recognized as founder of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

She was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 and passed away on Jan. 24, 2009, after facing her third bout with the disease. Before her death she joined forces with the WBCA and the V Foundation for Cancer Research.

One celebrity athlete helping the cause is Kevin Durant. He has partnered with Nike to design an insane pink floral basketball shoe called the “Aunt Pearl.’’ Kevin Durant's late Aunt Pearl passed away in 2000 from lung cancer, and the Nike sneaker is his tribute to her. Our team got to rep the pearls in our Play 4Kay game against Maryland.

I’m not really a big shoe person so I didn’t know how exclusive these shoes were until I saw my teammates’ reaction when we first got them. Ka’lia Johnson literally fell to the ground in excitement when she found out we were getting them. I’ve never had a pair of floral basketball shoes, but I must admit they are pretty cool, and for a good cause.

I have not had any immediate family members affected with cancer and for that I am very thankful, but almost everyone knows someone who has. It is my hometown neighbor and mother of four young boys. It was my great grandmother. It was two of my stepfather's aunts. It is your aunt, your sister, your daughter, mother or maybe your grandmother. It may even be you. The reality is, we are all affected in some way, shape or form.

Although the Kay Yow Foundation has certainly raised our awareness and showcased the charity throughout women's basketball, it still has a long road ahead of it. Cancer does not discriminate. It does not play favorites. Please help raise awareness and donate whatever you can so we can honor Kay's memory and her efforts as well as find a cure!

Thanks and Go Duke!