Notre Dame softball’s signature awareness initiative, Strike Out 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.
Strike Out Cancer events include a trivia night fundraiser, silent auction, home-run derby and awareness promotions during a Notre Dame softball doubleheader each season. The official color of leukemia awareness, orange, is worn by Notre Dame, its opponents and fans 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 Strike Out 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.
List of projects funded by Strike Out 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