By Shawn Rine
Ohio Sports Editor
The Intelligencer & Wheeling News Register
WHEELING, W.Va. – As far as minor-league promotions go, most are gimmicks designed specifically at putting fans in seats. You know, the bobble heads, magnetic schedules, $1 beer, Disco and Fireworks nights. Then there are others (see Nailers, Wheeling: Shred Rodriguez Night) that are ingenious but serve no purpose after the evening is through.
But every once in a while along comes a venture like this weekend’s Pink in the Rink at WesBanco Arena. The premise is the same – attract fans and lots of them – but the result isn’t some poorly structured punch line.
This isn’t about finding a way to cleverly poke fun at someone. This is about victory and defeat, but not the kind that helps you climb in the division standings.
Nearly everyone has been affected or known someone who at one time has suffered from the cruel and unbiased disease known as cancer, which we’ve all come to rightfully fear. Personally, I have two grandfathers and a uncle waging separate battles, and my father is a cancer survivor.
Millions of dollars and countless hours of research are spent each day trying to find what to this point has been an increasingly frustrating answer. More work and more money is needed, because according to published reports 1,252,000 new cases of cancer will be diagnosed in one year’s time, and 547,000 people will die because of some form of the disease.
To put those numbers in perspective, of the nearly 1,500 people who die each day in the United States, 300 deaths will be caused by cancer.
The Nailers have the means and the forum in which to lend a helping hand, and the organization has made Breast Cancer its target.
”We are honored to be able to directly help local Ohio Valley women who are affected by Breast Cancer,” Wheeling co-President Rob Brooks said. ”The purpose of this weekend is to promote cancer awareness, while providing support to cancer patients and their families.”
Here’s the deal:
• The team will wear pink jerseys, specially made for this weekend, and they will be auctioned off following Saturday night’s 8:05 game against Trenton.
• $1 from every regularly priced ticket, along with every dollar from the jersey auction, will be donated to the Ohio Valley’s Awareness Inc.’s Driving for a Cure. Taking it a step further, $4 from every $13 ticket sold online will go directly to the organization.
• Tonight, all fans will be given Pink Thunderstix to help cheer on the Nailers when they face off against Cincinnati for the second time this season.
• Saturday night, all fans will also be given Thunderstix, with the first 500 women through the gates also being presented with pink carnations.
”By the end of the weekend, we want to have raised enough money to purchase two laptop computers for the patients to use while they are receiving treatment, and boxed lunches to patients and caregivers while at the OVMC infusion center,” Brooks said.
The Nailers started this tradition last season, donating more than $9,000 to the cause.
”We feel it provides the infusion center with an added benefit that most infusion centers don’t provide,” said Kathy Blass, president of the Ohio Valley Awareness, Inc. ”The fans were generous and donated their money.
”We were humbled that the Nailers would think of us to spend the funds to help cancer patients in the Ohio Valley.”
So come out this weekend and support a cause we can all get behind.