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Kay Yow Cancer Fund Announces 2024 National Play4Kay Award Winners

2024 National Play4Kay Award Winners

Kay Yow Cancer Fund Announces 2024 National Play4Kay Award Winners


Raleigh, NC (April 5, 2024) – The Kay Yow Cancer Fund announces its 2024 National Play4Kay award winners today. Play4Kay is the Fund’s largest fundraising initiative with events hosted in all 50 states. Through the nationwide support of participating Play4Kay teams, coaches, fans, officials, and communities, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund continues to make a significant impact and has awarded $8.28M in the fight against all cancers affecting women.

The Fund will honor the following schools and communities for raising the most money in their respective divisions at the Wow4Yow celebration event in Cleveland, Ohio at the Women’s Basketball Final Four.


Division I (BCS): Illinois State University (Bloomington-Normal, IL) 

Division I (Non-BCS): Illinois State University (Bloomington-Normal, IL) 

For only the third time in the history of Play4Kay awards, Illinois State has won both the DI BCS and Non-BCS awards. The community has gone above and beyond in its commitment to fighting all cancers affecting women. Hosting a Play4Kay game is a huge source of pride for ISU and has led them to win the Non-BCS award for 9 consecutive years, proving that great things can be accomplished when a community unites for a common cause. United Hearts, Unstoppable Hope! 

“Having played for Coach Yow and been a part of her staff in the final years of her life, I know how much the Play4Kay campaigns mean to so many in a broad sense. Our department, University, community, fundraising captains and sponsors continue to amaze me with their support. As Play4Kay becomes bigger each year, I know we are all a part of carrying out Coach Yow’s vision, and for that, I am grateful.” — Kristen Gillespie, Illinois State University Head Coach.


Division II: Anderson University (Anderson, SC) 

Anderson University continues to impact lives through the Play4Kay South Atlantic Conference initiative, winning the National Division II award five of the last six years. To Anderson it’s more than a cause, it’s a movement.

“When it comes to supporting the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, it’s a no-brainer for our University and our Community to step up. Across our campus, we understand that this is an ongoing battle that we want to help fight against. The city of Anderson and its business owners have stepped right in to support us in that charge. We are grateful for their support and we have hope that one day we will defeat this awful disease.” — Jonathon Barbaree, Anderson University, Head Coach


Division III: Moravian University (Bethlehem, PA) 

Moravian University has supported the Kay Yow Cancer Fund since its inception and has embodied what it means to galvanize a community for a common cause. For the 16th year in a row, they have won the National Play4Kay Division III award. They are louder, stronger, unstoppable – together. 

“At Moravian University, one of our institutional values is ‘Service.’  Raising money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund has been a 16 year-labor-of-love for our program. The Moravian Women’s Basketball program is honored to support the mission and work of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund in the fight against all women’s cancers.” — Mary Beth Spirk, Head Women’s Basketball Coach and Athletic Director.


NAIA: Faulkner University (Montgomery, AL)

Faulkner University wins their 12th overall National Play4Kay NAIA award signifying their commitment to making a difference in the fight against all cancers affecting women. A united community remains at the forefront of their unwavering efforts.

“We are thrilled to be annual partners with the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Our campus community, and the River Region, does such a great job on our Play4Kay Day each year. We love honoring so many brave survivors and supporting this wonderful organization. We would also like to thank our Student Government Association for turning that day into a big party, and making a substantial donation!” — Reed Sutton, Head Women’s Basketball Coach and Assistant Athletic Director 


Junior College/Community College: Taft College (Taft, CA)

Congratulations to Taft College for rallying their community in the fight against all cancers affecting women. Coach Lagmay has been a long-standing supporter of the Fund and proudly spearheaded Play4Kay at Taft College in his first season as head coach.

“It is far beyond Taft College in first place winning this award. It is the big picture of us being part of a wonderful community that supports the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and what it stands for. It is not only our hope from our community and campus but for everyone to be involved and tackle the issue at hand – Romeo Lagmay Jr., Taft College Women’s Basketball Head Coach


Nationwide K-12: The Westminster Schools (Atlanta, GA) 

Leah Black-Holmes was inspired to launch Play4Kay at Westminster after watching her mother’s battle with cancer. The result has been a united community fighting for something far bigger than themselves and a reminder that this battle is personal. Her efforts highlight the power of the next generation in the fight against cancer.

“Play4Kay has meant so much to me throughout high school. I am extremely proud of the Westminster community for uniting around this great cause and honoring the strong women cancer survivors and thrivers in our community. Over the past three years, we have raised more than $68,000 for this incredible organization! I am very grateful that we are making an impact in the fight against cancers affecting women.” – Leah Black-Holmes, Senior at the Westminster Schools, Atlanta, GA


NC-Based K-12: Broughton High School (Raleigh, NC) 

A teacher and her students galvanize the local community through an experiential learning project culminating in Play4Kay. For the last seven years, this project continues to be a source of pride for the students as they learn real-world skills and impact cancer survivors and thrivers in their community.

“Broughton’s Play4Kay event started as an honors class project for our Sport & Event Marketing II class to allow students to gain practical marketing experience and raise money for a great cause in the process. It has been exciting to see this student-driven project evolve over the past 7 years. Each new group of SEM students plans all aspects of the event in an attempt to not only grow our annual event but also raise more money than the SEM class the year before. We are grateful for the incredible support we receive from our local community. During our 7 year involvement, we are proud that we have been able to donate over $70,000 to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. They are such an integral part of our own local community yet benefit people everywhere. Broughton High School is proud to be a small part in helping make a difference in the fight against all cancers affecting women.” — Ms. Patterson, Broughton HS Teacher


Thanks to the work of the award winners above we are shifting the momentum from cancer awareness into action through programs that provide access to quality cancer healthcare for under-resourced women and life-saving cancer research.


“Congratulations to the 2024 Play4Kay winners, Coach Yow would be incredibly proud to see what this national grassroots movement has become! We are so thankful for all the teams who have participated and continue to support the Fund through this initiative,” said Jenny Palmateer, CEO of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. “Coach Yow believed in the power of sports as a unifying force for good and as evidence of her vision, $8.28M has been awarded on behalf of the women’s basketball community in the fight against all cancers affecting women. Together, we are louder, stronger and unstoppable!” 




About the Kay Yow Cancer Fund 

The Kay Yow Cancer Fund was officially founded on December 3, 2007, from the vision of the organization’s namesake, Kay Yow, former NC State University head women’s basketball coach. Coach Yow was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 before succumbing to the disease on January 24, 2009. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is a 501(c)(3) charitable organization committed to raising money for life-saving cancer research, underserved programs that provide access to quality cancer healthcare, and unite people in the fight against all cancers affecting women. The Kay Yow Cancer Fund has awarded $8.28 million in the fight against all cancers affecting women. For more information on the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, please visit


Kay Yow Cancer Fund Contact

Brittany Card //

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