Members of the St. Clair High School softball team decided to use the month of October to take cancer awareness to a higher level while paying tribute to a member of their family in the process.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and the Bulldogs have used the occasion to honor Amy Cassimatis, who died from the disease in May.
Her two daughters — Reyna, a junior, and Riley, a freshman — are members of the team. Bulldogs softball players, parents and fans have been selling pink socks this month with the proceeds going toward a scholarship that will be given to a SCHS senior in memory of Amy Cassimatis.
“Amy was a very caring and loving wife and mother and person,” said St. Clair R-XIII School District teacher Carolyn Barnes, who also has a daughter on the Bulldogs softball team. “She coached little league softball with some of these girls and made a lasting difference for them.”
Barnes helped organize the memorial scholarship in Amy Cassimatis’ honor.
The Bulldogs wore the pink socks and donned pink hair ribbons for Monday’s final home game of the season against Festus. Festus players also wore pink socks for the occasion.
The Tigers defeated the Bulldogs 11-1.
Before the contest got under way, a presentation was made to Pete Cassimatis, Amy’s husband, and Reyna and Riley. They were given an enlarged, pink check from sock sale proceeds that will be used for the scholarship.
During the special ceremony, some of the girls on the team were moved to tears. Bulldog players hugged the Cassimatis girls and Pete Cassimatis at the end of the presentation.
Amy Cassimatis was 47 when she died from breast cancer.
Besides rosters for the Bulldogs and Festus, other information centering on cancer was passed out to fans attending Monday’s game.
About one in eight U.S. women will develop invasive breast cancer sometime in their lives. That moved the Bulldogs to come up with a slogan for Monday’s game, “About one in eight: Pink out can’t wait!”
In 2013, it’s estimated that more than 232,000 new cases of invasive breast cancer are expected to be diagnosed in American women as well as about 64,500 new cases of noninvasive breast cancer.
In addition, almost 40,000 women will die from the disease this year.
The number of deaths is decreasing, statistics show, with even larger decreases in women under age 50.
Experts believe these decreases are the result of treatment advances, earlier detection through screening and increased awareness.
A women’s risk of breast cancer almost doubles if she has a first-degree relative — mother, sister or daughter — who has been diagnosed. About 15 percent of women who get the disease have another family member diagnosed with it.
Finally, for U.S. women, breast cancer death rates are higher than those for any other cancer except lung cancer and breast cancer is the most commonly diagnosed type of the disease other than skin cancer.
Pairs of socks remain available to purchase for $10. For more information, contact Barnes at 314-623-3962.