2015 4Kay Golf Classic

The Kay Yow Cancer Fund will host its annual 4Kay Golf Classic, presented by NIKE, on Monday, September 7 and Tuesday, September 8 at the historic and beautiful Pinehurst Resort. Join us in the heart of the North Carolina Sandhills at the Carolina Hotel, located in The Village of Pinehurst and play Pinehurst No. 4.

The Pinehurst Resort is an experience that everyone should enjoy at least once.

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Pinehurst No. 6

The first annual 4Kay Golf Classic was hosted in 2008 in Dallas, Texas — and was very moving because Coach Yow was there to see the energy, enthusiasm and passion.  Coach Yow  envisioned this event as a great opportunity to bring coaches and friends together to enjoy golf, celebrate friendships and raise funds in support of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.  To date, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund has supported over $4.18 million in women’s cancer research and related projects, with future research grant proposals currently under consideration.  The Fund’s success has been the result of your support and commitment.

We hope you will join us at Pinehurst in early September.  For more information contact any member of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund staff.


2015 Play 4Kay Divisional Winners Announced

Play4Kay Web copy
RALEIGH, N.C.  (April 3, 2015) – The Kay Yow Cancer Fund®, in partnership with the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) and The V Foundation for Cancer Research, today announced the top fundraisers in each division of the 2015 Play 4Kay® initiative. From February 13-23, 2015, teams across the country, dedicated an event to raise awareness and funds for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, an organization committed to funding women’s cancer research and supporting projects that assist the underserved community.

The institutions that raised the most funds in each division will be recognized on April 3, 2015 in Tampa, Florida at the Wow 4Yow event.

The 2015 Play 4Kay divisional winners are:

NCAA Division I: North Carolina State University; Raleigh, North Carolina

NCAA Division II: Lincoln Memorial University; Harrogate, Tennessee

NCAA Division III: Moravian College; Bethlehem, Pennsylvania

NAIA: Faulkner University; Montgomery, Alabama

Community College: Trinity Valley Community College; Athens, Texas

National K-12: Akin Elementary School; Hale Center, Texas

North Carolina K-12: Harrells Christian Academy; Harrells, North Carolina

For the seventh consecutive year, Moravian College won the NCAA Division III title. For the second consecutive year, Trinity Valley Community College and Harrells Christian Academy raised the most funds in their respective divisions.

“The 2015 Play 4Kay Campaign was a testament to the women’s basketball community’s commitment to the mission of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund,” said Kay Yow Cancer Fund Executive Director Sue Donohoe.

“Coach Yow strongly believed that coaches and their student-athletes share not only a community but, should also share in a cause much larger than any game or score on the scoreboard. Coach Yow’s vision for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and the Play 4Kay Campaign encompassed not only her wish to raise funds in support of women’s cancer research, but also her desire for coaches and their players to enrich their lives by serving others.”

“Being named the winner of the 2015 Play4Kay award is a great honor, especially to all of us here at NC State,” said Wes Moore, head women’s basketball coach at North Carolina State University. “This is a place that loves Coach Yow and the legacy she has left behind. I feel like our university, our fans, and our community have shown great support, not only for the annual Hoops 4 Hope games, but also for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and its work to raise awareness and continue research in the fight against women’s cancers.
Since the Fund’s inception, more than $4.18 million has been allocated in support of women’s cancer research and related projects.

For more information about the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and its annual  Play 4Kay® initiative, visit www.kayyow.com and follow #Play4Kay.



North Carolina State University (Raleigh, North Carolina) hosted their Play 4Kay game, called Hoops 4Hope, and beat Duke. Hoops 4Hope began in 2006 on Coach Yow’s home court and was the launching pad for what is now branded as “Play 4Kay.”

Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee won the Division II category.

Lincoln Memorial University in Harrogate, Tennessee won the Division II category.



Moravian College (Bethlehem, Pennsylvania) — For the seventh consecutive year, Moravian College won the NCAA Division III title.


NAIA Division winner Faulkner University in Montgomery, Alabama, pose with a cancer survivor.


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Aikin Elementary School in Hale Center, Texas, won the K-12 National Division.

About the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and Play 4Kay Campaign

The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization committed to being a part of finding  an answer in the fight against women’s cancers through raising money for scientific research, assisting the underserved, and unifying people for a common cause. For more information on the Kay Yow Cancer Fund or to make a donation, please visit www.KayYow.com orwww.Play4Kay.org.

About the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association
Founded in 1981, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association promotes women’s basketball by unifying coaches at all levels to develop a reputable identity for the sport and to foster and promote the development of the game as a sport for women and girls. For more information on the WBCA, please visit www.wbca.org.
About The V Foundation for Cancer Research

The V Foundation for Cancer Research was founded in 1993 by ESPN and the late Jim Valvano, legendary North Carolina State basketball coach and ESPN commentator. Since 1993, The Foundation has funded more than $130 million in cancer research grants nationwide. It awards 100 percent of all direct cash donations to cancer research and related programs. Due to generous donors, the Foundation has an endowment that covers administrative expenses. The Foundation awards peer-reviewed grants through a competitive awards process strictly supervised by a Scientific Advisory Committee. For more information on The V Foundation, please visit www.jimmyv.org.


ESPN Celebrates 2015 Play4Kay Games

ESPNESPN Celebrates 2015 Play 4Kay Games Featuring 14 Top Teams, Seven Games across ESPN2 & ESPNU on February 22 & 23

ESPN’s annual Play 4Kay women’s basketball games – highlighting the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, in partnership with The V Foundation and the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) – will air five games across ESPN2 and ESPNU on Sunday, Feb. 22. In addition, two top-25 matchups – featuring SEC rivals No. 3 Tennessee at No. 2 South Carolina and new ACC foes No. 16 Louisville at No. 4 Notre Dame – will air on Monday, Feb. 23, as part of ESPN2’s Big Monday Presented by Verizon series. In its ninth year, Play 4Kay is in memory of former NC State head coach Kay Yow, who lost her long, courageous battle with breast cancer.

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I Bought a Pink Ladder

OU team photoSherri Coale’s Pink ladder

Written by Coach Sherri Coale, head coach of the University of Oklahoma Women’s Basketball team.

I bought a pink ladder. It happened in a backward sort of upside down way, but it was for a great cause so I didn’t mind writing the check at all. I have to admit, however, that I had no idea what I was going to do with a really expensive ladder, especially a pink one.

So when it arrived on my doorstep, I called my equipment manager to bring a truck out to ferry it to its new home, our gym. A few border less ideas were already forming in my head; I would find a way to use it. We’d make it matter, I just wasn’t sure quite how.

It was on a Wednesday a couple of weeks later when I met with my team. We were in our film room. A stack of stats sat in front of me, a teaching edit was waiting to be played on the projector, and a pink ladder stood copiously in the front corner of the room. The 2012 season was in the books and my tremendous group of warriors, still a bit gaunt and more than a wee bit agitated about the premature end of their season, were strung out across the room.

On that seemingly innocuous Wednesday, we talked about all the things you talk about when a season ends. And then we talked about all the things you talk about when you prepare for another — one that you’d like to see end a whole lot differently. Then I introduced them to the elephant in the room: my ladder. I told them the brief, abridged version of how it got here to Norman, Oklahoma, and then I told them how special it was going to be for our team.

We talked about the Kay Yow Foundation. We talked about Coach Yow and her courageous battle with this insidious disease, we talked about the power of our platform as a collegiate team of women, and we talked about the symbolism of a ladder in our gym all off season: the daily reminder it could be to us of where we want to go and what it takes to get there.

Then I launched my plan for our pink ladder. I introduced our team to the concept of six-word memoirs: life statements power packed into only six words, usually simple ones strung together in formidable ways. (Think Twitter as a euphemistic Shrinky Dink.) There is a website; I have a book. We looked at examples — some created raucous laughter, others brought tears. Then I asked our team to come up with their own six-word memoirs reflective of their lives as athletes. What six words could encapsulate their respective journeys?

I gave them one week to formulate their own and tattoo it on the pink ladder in Sharpie marker. Their words would be a territorial mark on the symbolic tool that would spur them on over the summer months.
You could almost see the wheels racing in their heads. This group “got it.” They would run with this idea. I could tell. And I could not wait to see what next Wednesday held.

Then on Friday, life threw us a curve ball, and the ladder took on a life of its own. The biopsy came back positive. My 16-year assistant, my college teammate, the maid of honor at my wedding, and my team’s rudder had breast cancer.

It was the call you never want to get. The words you never want to hear. Reality morphed immediately into a slow-motion slosh through phone calls and emails and ‘to do’ lists that helped us feel like we were somehow in charge of it all, though deep down inside we knew we were running in place.

Telling the team was the worst, I think. For those who had nursed loved ones through their own heavyweight fights with cancer, the response was courageous defiance. We could all put a face and a name with what was about to happen — the journey had a form for us. But for those who had never been down such a path, the terror was mysterious and raw. We prayed together. Whit led her peers with the wisdom and the strength of a woman twice her age. And the days sloshed on.

Pink Ladder due date, May 2nd, came and went. Jan Ross and I were otherwise engaged. We set the surgery date, met with each member of the cancer fight team and did the “hurry up and wait” deal like we were professionals. Then one afternoon during an itchy spell when we’d checked off all the items on our respective lists, I thought about the ladder and asked if she’d like to go down to see it. I secretly wondered if our players had even remembered what I’d asked them to do, much less gotten around to doing it. In the fog of the last few days it would have been an easy forget. And no one would have blamed them for the whiff.

Except they didn’t. Whiff that is. Our guys hit that curve ball smooth out of the park.
Their six-word memoirs graced the legs of the ladder, each neatly printed in individual fonts. I could almost see the ghosts of their personal gravitas as they traced them there. It’s really not an exercise you can do lightly. Then in the middle of trying to match memoir with athlete, we saw it: the six words, each written elegantly, yet with “I mean it” bravado, on its own rung. Our team’s mission for the year ahead: “Playing for our Rock, Coach Ross.”

Precious, priceless moment.

That pink ladder matters. And though I sure didn’t see it coming, now I know exactly how.

Coach Ross, Coach Coale and Sue Donehoe. Photo taken when the Oklahoma Women's Basketball team visited the Kay Yow Cancer Fund office recently.

L-R: Coach Jan Ross, Coach Sherri Coale and Sue Donehoe. Photo taken when the Oklahoma Women’s Basketball team visited the Kay Yow Cancer Fund office recently.

This story was originally posted on September 30, 2012 for The Norman Transcript.

Deep in the Heart of Texas

On December 3, 2007, Coach Yow founded the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, a 501 (c)(3) non-profit organization. Her vision and mission for the Fund was clear – raise funds to support women’s cancer research – all women’s cancers – assist the underserved and bring people together for a common cause.

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