The Southeast Missouri State University volleyball program's Dig for Life campaign taking place this month is in its fifth year -- and its meaning to coach Cindy Gannon is as strong as ever.
In 2000, Gannon lost her mother to breast cancer, and she decided to begin Dig for Life, which helps raise money to educate area women about breast cancer prevention and to help families already affected by the disease. The program also helps provide mammography screening, transportation to medical treatments and more.
"It's something that's very important and special to me, and we're glad we can do our part," Gannon said. "When you watch someone go through it, and you know how many women go through it ... we're trying to create awareness and help out."
Dig for Life, which is sponsored by Saint Francis Medical Center, takes place each October to coincide with National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Southeast team members secure pledges for each dig, and flat cash pledges are also accepted. Digs are tallied in October's seven home matches -- beginning with tonight's 7 p.m. contest against Eastern Illinois -- and money collected is allocated to nearby medical facilities.
Gannon said Dig for Life has raised about $20,000 since its inception and is on pace to take in more than $10,000 this year.
"Our campaign is already at about $5,000, and we're just starting October," she said. "Things have started out great, and Saint Francis has been such a big help to us."
Boosting this year's campaign is a silent auction for a hand-crafted hope chest with proceeds going to Dig for Life. The chest was made and donated by the Community Service Committee and Southeast Facilities Management. The minimum bid for the chest is $400.
People wishing to bid on the chest should fill out a bid ticket and write their number from the ticket and bid amount on the bid sheet at any Southeast home volleyball match this month. The bid may be raised at any match. The winner will be notified after the Oct. 31 contest against Drake.
Bids can also be placed by calling 651-2997 or 651-2937. Those numbers can also be reached for more information on Dig for Life or to make pledges.