By: Claire O’Rourke
Hammond Volleyball trades the Pink game for the Blue game this year, hosting Glenelg in the Hammond gymnasium on October 2nd, 2018, hoping to raise money and awareness for juvenile diabetes.
The Blue Game is close to many of the players’ and their families hearts, especially sophomore Lexi Wise, jersey numbers 14/34 on the Junior Varsity team, who has type 1 diabetes. She is appreciative of the change she hopes will bring more awareness to what she believes to be a forgotten disease.
Lexi explains she “feel[s] like there’s not a lot of awareness given to type 1 diabetes because cancer is a lot more well known, and a lot of people focus on the struggles of cancer,” while she agrees with that, does wish there was a little bit more awareness for diabetes.
“I definitely am more excited to play in the game, and I definitely feel more understood and appreciated by the entire community.” Lexi shares. Senior captain Hannah Gorel, jersey number 5, also weighed in on the game, stating that she thinks it is cool to be changing it up and supporting a new cause.
The game is also very close to the Lerner family and their son Jake who has type 1 diabetes. Michael Lerner, Athletics and Activities Manager, and April Lerner, Advanced Research teacher, both commented on how excited Jake was for the game. Mr. Lerner talked about what he envisions Jake doing at the game, sharing that “He’ll probably be there and wearing his Diabetes Walk T-Shirt that he has: Jake’s Diabuddies, and he’ll answer anybody’s questions.”
Mrs. Lerner offered that, since he is only eight, Jake doesn’t quite understand everything that will be going on; however, he is grateful that Hammond Volleyball is fundraising for a disease he has, and even more excited to attend. The Lerner family holds this game close to their hearts.
The process behind making the Blue game happen this year was a simple conversation with Mr. Lerner and a decision, explains Varsity volleyball coach Anne Corey.
“I knew the volleyball program would support that decision,” she says, “We’ve done a pink game for a few years now, so [I] just thought that changing it up a little bit would be something nice, especially something that’s so personal to our school.”
As far as the plan for the game goes, Coach Corey has a few ideas, most notably a larger involvement by Lexi Wise, who she plans to conversate with to see how she would like to be involved whether that be by sharing her story or another role. The color theme will also be blue, and the gym will be decorated.
Additionally, Volleyball will continue to host the annual bake sale which this year fundraises for juvenile diabetes. Coach Corey also explains that “For the most part, the bake sale will be the same, and we hope to bring the same awareness about juvenile diabetes as we have in the past with breast cancer.”
As for the future of the Blue game, things still remain uncertain. Lexi Wise shares a heartfelt desire to continue with it, saying she “think[s] it’s really important, especially as a type 1 diabetic, to bring awareness to a disease that has so many struggles that people don’t know of, and [researchers] don’t have the funding needed to find a proper cure.” She went on, teary-eyed, to say “For [Hammond Volleyball] to choose diabetes over cancer means so much to me.”
Coach Corey waits to see how the fundraiser and showing goes this year, and how the Hammond Volleyball family feels about continuing the Blue game as an annual thing. She also plans to check in with Mr. Lerner to see what he thinks for next Fall.
Mr. Lerner also gave his thoughts on continuing the Blue game: despite a strong desire to continue the Blue game, he ultimately gives the Coaches the decision. Ending his statement claiming he “Love[s] doing games for causes: that’s what athletics is about.”
The bake sale fundraiser for the Blue game and juvenile diabetes takes place right outside the Hammond gymnasium from 2:10 to the end of the Varsity Volleyball game.