Sports teams across the Heartland will turn pink this month to raise awareness for breast cancer.
Football players at Southeast Missouri State are getting in on the action by wearing pink jerseys during a game in late-October.
On the back of the jersey, will be a name representing someone who has been touched by breast cancer.
For fullback Zach Cox, that means he gets to wear his own last name.
His mother, Pam Cox, was diagnosed with breast cancer a little more than a year and a half ago.
"It's really tough to imagine one of the people you love so much to be in so much pain and suffering, waking up everyday, making sure she is alright, trying to take care of her," Zach said.
It was an experience no playbook could prepare him for.
"Like how to stick tubes in her and get blood out just to make sure she was alright," Zach said.
The radiation, chemotherapy and surgeries are now in the past. Pam Cox is a survivor.
Her strength to fight the disease is inspiration Zach uses on the field.
"I'm definitely getting myself motivated thinking about all she went through and how much support she's given me and my family as well," Zach said.
Head football coach Tom Matukewicz wants to teach the rest of the team that lesson.
"They think it's tough out here playing but what about radiation, chemotherapy. Can you believe what these people go through? Let's honor them with our play."
That's why you'll see a sea of pink at SEMO's game against Tennessee Tech on Oct. 31.
Since August, people in the community have been bidding on the jerseys the players will wear during the pink up game.
Bidding on game-worn jerseys ends on Monday, Oct. 12. The top bidder will get to personalize their winning jerseys with a name in honor or memory of a survivor or loved one, if desired.
After the game on Oct. 31, the jerseys will be presented to the winning bidders. The winners will also receive two game tickets and an invitation to a pre-game tailgate party.
Proceeds from the game will go to Saint Francis Medical Center's "Pink Up" campaign, which provides free mammograms to area women who otherwise could not afford them.
Zach says the football game is great way to increase awareness about breast cancer, but it can't stop there.
"I get to fight for my mom but it's not just a one day fight, it's an every day fight not only for her but for all those that have had to deal with breast cancer," Zach said.
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