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.