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. With an additional $30,000 raised by Strikeout Cancer in 2014, total proceeds from the first four years of the annual event have climbed over $100,000.