INDIANAPOLIS – The pink was spread all across Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday.
From the players on the field to those in the upper deck, the color adorned thousands of fans attending the Packers-Colts game, and it was of special significance to those located in the Emmis Communications Suite.
Ten breast cancer survivors and their guests each attended a game that will go down as one of the best in franchise history.
This marks the fourth year of the Priority Pink Program by B105.7. It is a contest inviting people around the city to send letters spotlighting lives of breast cancer survivors that are close to them.
“It’s a wonderful program. We always have a great turnout,” Amanda Foytich, sales marketing director at B105.7 said. “The 10 winners are given tickets to the Emmis Communications Suite for a Colts game. Each guest is given a gift bag, and we are able to spend a day with some very special people. The entries on-line grow every year, and it’s a great ‘feel-good’ type of program.”
Over the past four years, the contest has seen more than 200 people send in letters about loved ones telling their stories of surviving breast cancer.
Foytich brought the 10 contestants and their guests into the suite about a half hour prior to Sunday’s kickoff and many of the survivor’s eyes lit up while taking in the environment they would enjoy for the next several hours.
“The reactions of those who have won range from joy to shock to tears,” Foytich said. “One of my favorite duties is when I get to call the winners to let them know they were chosen from among the many uplifting stories.”
Breast cancer survivor Kathy Stark said she heard about the contest on the way to work one morning and after her husband wrote the letter, the two were chosen to attend in the Packers-Colts game.
“This is amazing,” Stark said. “I’m holding back tears because that’s how cool it is. We’ve been to Colts games before but obviously this has touched me very personally because of what I’ve been through.”
Indianapolis native Mandy Rode heard about the contest two years ago and was nominated by her sister.
Rode said she is not able to attend Colts games very often but being present at the Green Bay game after Head Coach Chuck Pagano was diagnosed with leukemia last week was a special occasion.
“Obviously it hit close to home,” Rode said. “(Pagano) needs to stay positive, and I think the support behind him is awesome. It’s nice to see all the support from the community.”
As the women watched the Colts knock off the Packers, 30-27, Stark wanted to make sure Pagano heard her message, one that many in the suite were thinking.
“He needs to be strong and push forward every day,” Stark said of Pagano. “Know that the medication he’s been given is healing him. He needs to accept it and have a great mindset that this medication is helping him and realize every day is a blessing.”
The program Emmis has run has been sponsored annually by Riverview Hospital and Howald Heating and Cooling.
Joining Stark and Rode at Sunday’s game were Diana Attwood, Julie Bower, Alecia Gilles, Jenn Gustafson, Denise Praul, Jenny Tallent, Brenda Wheeler, Loralyn Woods and their guests.
Before the game, Foytich noted the significance of the moment as it related to the Colts.
“We were sorry to hear about Coach Pagano’s illness. You will see a lot of pink because of the breast cancer awareness efforts, but you will see some orange, too, for cancer awareness and for Chuck. We wish you all the best, coach.”