Notre Dame softball's signature awareness initiative, Strikeout Cancer, began supporting leukemia awareness in 2011 in solidarity for Irish head coach Deanna Gumpf and her daughter, Tatum, who was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in the summer of 2010. Now an annual celebration, the proceeds directly benefit South Bend's Memorial Children's Hospital (where Tatum started her treatments) and children throughout Indiana who have been diagnosed with cancer.
Strikeout Cancer events include a trivia night fundraiser, silent auction, home run derby and awareness promotions during a Notre Dame softball doubleheader each season. Notre Dame, its opponents and fans wear the official color of leukemia awareness, orange, as a way to show support for families and children suffering from cancer.
In its inaugural year, the Irish softball team raised over $12,000 during the weekend-long Strikeout Cancer celebration. Notre Dame doubled that amount in 2012 when a total of $25,355.62 was raised - a figure that led the nation among softball programs participating in the NFCA's StrikeOut Cancer initiative.
Notre Dame softball continued to set the gold standard across the nation during the 2013 Strikeout Cancer weekend, bringing in more than $40,000 to directly aid pediatric cancer patients. The figure pushed the total amount raised to more than $75,000 in the three-year history of the event.
Deanna Gumpf and her daughter, Tatum, on the field before the 2011 Strikeout Cancer doubleheader against Louisville.
List of projects funded by Strikeout Cancer since 2011
Paid lodging for family to stay in Bloomington, Ind. while their child received radiation therapy
Sponsored kids to go to Camp Whatchawannado, a camp for children afflicted by illness
Sponsored "wish day" for a 20-year old with cancer (shopping, massage, spa day, and flowers)
Purchased a therapy dog for a boy with cancer
Sponsored "wish trip" to Florida for a 20-year old fighting cancer
Purchased back-to-school backpacks filled with school supplies
Purchased birthday gift cards for all children going through treatment at Memorial Hospital
Sponsored seven kids' Christmas presents (minimum of $250.00 per child)
Purchased special supplies for children who have finished treatment (ornaments, t- shirts, toys, etc.)
Sponsored a "wish trip" for a college student with leukemia
Purchased seven iPads for the pediatric hematology and oncology clinic at South Bend's Memorial Hospital
Purchased a desktop computer for the pediatric hematology and oncology clinic at South Bend's Memorial Hospital
Currently funding two play rooms that will be added to the pediatric hematology and oncology clinic at South Bend's Memorial Hospital