Pitching In to Find a Cure
The Swing for Life Foundation proves how our collective efforts to take action against cancer can make a difference. In 2002, Rowland Hall-St. Mark's softball coach Kathy Howa was diagnosed with breast cancer. Her team rallied around her by raising money to support breast cancer research. Other teams in the community learned of Kathy's battle and joined her team's effort. Today, Swing for Life is supported by more than 100 high school softball, baseball, volleyball, basketball, soccer, golf, lacrosse, football, and tennis teams in Utah and beyond. Its participants also include hundreds of college students.
Kathy states, "One of the greatest lessons and gifts I have learned is life is not to be taken for granted! Live each day with no regrets and enjoy the sunshine, because none of us knows what our future brings."
Kathy established the Swing for Life Foundation, a non-profit organization with the mission to host fundraising events that raise $50,000 per year for breast cancer research at Huntsman Cancer Institute. Through Swing for Life, teams have raised $780,000. In addition to the events, the capstone of all the activities involves cancer prevention education. This component happens at a sleepover held at the school gymnasium. This education effort has reached more than 6,000 girls.
Kathy says, "It's been 10 years and I have been blessed with good health and have kept the cancer from coming back. No matter how big Swing for Life becomes, I will always make sure 100% of the money goes to breast cancer research. I can't say enough about the kids or Swing for Life's co-founder, Kendra Tomsic. They have become partners in a mission to show and to learn firsthand what it means to be involved in service for the greater good of others. If everyone did something special to make it better for someone else, we would eliminate a lot of terrible things in this world!"
Thanks to Kathy, young people see that when faced with something really difficult, they can rise above the challenge and not let it get the best of them. Kathy describes Swing for Life as "not about winning in sports, but winning in life."