The 7th annual Wilton High School field hockey Play for Pink game and raffle, scheduled for Tuesday, Oct 11 (varsity at 4 p.m., junior varsity to follow), means these student athletes are doing more than wearing pink to raise awareness. The annual Pay for Pink game raises both awareness and significant money for breast cancer programs and foundations. Last year’s game raised $3,000 and the teams hope to surpass that amount this year.

This year the team has chosen to support the Get in Touch Foundation, a CT-based organization that, according to its website, provides breast health initiatives that educate gals and guys of all ages how to ‘get in touch’ with their bodies, information, and each other in our crusade against breast cancer.”

Play for Pink is hosted by the WHS Field Hockey boosters organization. Wilton resident Tricia Rosen is the Field Hockey booster’s secretary–and also a breast cancer survivor. “I was introduced to the Get in Touch Foundation by another board member, Dorothy Pagliaro. She has been supporting my efforts throughout,” she says.

What resonated for her was the emphasis Get in Touch places on starting breast health education very early, under the belief that it will help reduce breast cancer and breast cancer mortality rates–something Rosen says is vital. “Early detection saved my life!”

Get in Touch created a Girls’ Program to specifically focus on young girls and teens. It’s introduced by health educators to girls beginning in 5th grade, when schools typically introduce hygiene and puberty in the curriculum; it’s also incorporated each year through 12th grade. The program uses a tool named the Daisy Wheel to help teach younger girls about the need to do breast self exams as a means to increase earlier detection. The Get in Touch website says the Daisy Wheel has been “heralded in the medical community as a tool that will significantly alter the face of Breast Cancer.”

“We decided to go back to the beginning. Start with young girls and teach them what “normal” feels like, what their baseline is, help them feel empowered and educated about their bodies. There is nothing more effective in beating breast cancer than early detection and a woman’s voice advocating for herself,” Rosen says.

The boosters hope to reach out to both field hockey families and the wider community to ask for support of their fundraising efforts, and they’re looking to raise more than the $3,000 that was raised in 2015.

Not only will raffle tickets be sold during both the varsity and junior varsity games, but Betsy Nilan, the president of Get in Touch, will speak to all the players and families in the break between the two games. In addition, there will be Daisy Wheels available on site.