Pink for a Purpose

Teacher reminisces on pink-out game started in her honor


Addison Thornsbury

PRETTY IN PINK — Sophomore Melanie Meyer is spotted in a sea of pink as Lawrence High celebrates the annual pink-out game. “I enjoyed the game,” Meyer said. “Football is a good time for people to come together and just have fun.”

In 2010, then Student Council sponsor Jason Lichte approached teacher Shannon Wilson with a simple proposal: to begin a pink-out football game in Wilson’s honor as she battled breast cancer.

Seven years later, the pink-out game and Wilson alike are thriving.

“At the time I was going through breast cancer treatment, when StuCo came to me and says, ‘We have not had a pink-out game in football at all,’ ” Wilson said. “They wanted to start it.”

The first year of the game was larger than life, Wilson recalled.

“It was really big that year because we had never done one before,” Wilson said. “We had pink balloons and sold a ton of shirts because no one had a pink T-shirt.”

Jade Auchenbach
Inspiration — Foods and sewing teacher Shannon Wilson sells items at the pink-out game on Oct. 6. The tradition began eight years ago when Wilson was undergoing treatments for breast cancer.

Additionally, that first year raised the most funds the pink-out has ever accumulated, totaling about $1,200.
Earlier this year, Wilson announced she would retire at the end of this school year. Although leaving is a somber thought for the teacher, she is taking it fully in stride.

“I knew [my retirement] was coming, so I prepared for it,” Wilson said. “I want to enjoy everything this year, because I knew ahead of time that this was going to be it. I just want to take every single activity and every single event and enjoy it, every single minute of it.”
While Wilson may be leaving after this year, she is confident that the pink-out game will live on past her.

“I do [believe the pink-out game will continue], and I don’t want it to be about me,” Wilson said. “I want it to be about all cancer survivors. The thing that we have done with it is we have taken all the focus — though breast cancer gets the most awareness- —and we have given it to all cancers.”

Addisson Thornsburry
ROLLING OUT — Senior quarterback Dante Jackson carries the ball in the Lions’ 28-14 win over Olathe South. Jackson led the Lions in rushing yards on the day, finishing with 126 yards and one touchdown.

In all her years of leading the pink-out game, Wilson said the biggest motivator has been how many lives the game has affected.
“There are other people in this school that have gone through cancer treatment, there are some that are going through it right now,” Wilson said. “The thing that I remember the most is that kids would come up to me and tell me, ‘You know, Mrs. Wilson, my mom, or grandma, or dad, has gone through cancer.’ And I didn’t know how many lives it touched.”