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Libertyville High football team going pink
By Russell Lissau | Daily Herald Staff

Libertyville High players from left, QB A.J. Schurr, coach Randy Kuceyeski, linebacker Nate Yordy, linebacker Luke Mathewson, defensive end Aaron Danduch, offensive tackle Brady Smith and offensive guard Matt Jacobson.

 

Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

Libertyville High School offensive tackle Brady Schmidt proudly wears his pink jersey to be worn during a game to build breast cancer awareness.

 

Bob Chwedyk | Staff Photographer

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Published: 9/28/2010 10:55 AM | Updated: 9/29/2010 8:57 AM

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The Libertyville High Wildcats will trade their traditional black-and-orange jerseys for pink ones to promote breast cancer awareness next month.

The athletes will don the special uniforms when they play Stevenson High at home on Oct. 15. The stunt recognizes October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

"I am always looking for ways for our football program to give back to the community," Head Coach Randy Kuceyeski said in an e-mail. "This promotion honors anyone who has been affected by this disease and the family members (who) have supported them and have suffered along with them,"

The squad will be only the third varsity football team in the country to wear pink jerseys to raise cancer awareness, Libertyville-Vernon Hills Area High School District 128 spokeswoman Mary Todoric said. The others are in Ohio and Arizona, she said.

Kuceyeski, whose sister-in-law is a breast cancer survivor, was inspired to change his team's colors after seeing pro athletes wear pink wristbands and shoes to raise awareness of the disease.

"The team is looking forward to wearing pink for this cause," he said. "They understand that the color of our jerseys will not affect the outcome of the game. They also understand by raising funds and awareness, that it might in fact change the outcome of someone's life, which is a lot more important."

Wildcat fans, community members and local businesses can buy matching pink jerseys ahead of the game, too. They'll cost $75, and all proceeds will benefit the Susan G. Komen For the Cure Foundation.

The promotion is of particular importance to Todoric, a breast cancer survivor who was diagnosed about two years ago.

"I've attended special events (and) assemblies throughout the years that address the efforts, but none of them impact you the same way once you've been diagnosed yourself," she said. "Making a donation (or) buying a T-shirt to help the cause suddenly becomes a very personal matter."

Other Libertyville High athletic and support teams will be going pink in October, too.

The Libertyville High girls volleyball team will wear pink when they take on Mundelein High on Oct. 6. Players will sell special T-shirts and collect donations, too.

Additionally, the Wildcat cheerleaders will wear pink shirts at both the volleyball and football games.

Todoric isn't the only Libertyville High employee or student personally affected by breast cancer. Others have had the disease or have loved ones coping with it.

Kathy Colon, Libertyville High's special services supervisor, is among them.

"(Libertyville) has always had a tradition of caring and reaching out to a variety of causes," said Colon, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in February 2008 and has since been treated. "However, when so many groups launch such creative ways to support breast cancer research and awareness, it is beyond words."

Commemorative pink T-shirts will be available for $10 at home football games and during school lunch periods starting Thursday and running through Oct. 15.

To buy a pink football jersey, call (847) 327-7068.