Women’s hoops team takes charges for a cure

Dear Benny:
I attended the Penn women’s basketball team’s recent nail-biter against La Salle and heard about a “Cure for the Charge” initiative the team has taken up to raise money for charities. Can you tell me more?
—Penn Basketball Superfan

Dear PBS,
Thank you for your question. The actual name of the program is “Charge for a Cure.” The Penn women’s basketball team is dedicating their entire 2010-11 season to the fight against several debilitating diseases, and they are doing so by taking charges.

Basketball fans know that taking a charge involves literally sacrificing one’s body for the sake of the team: The defender must stand completely still while a player on the other team’s offense, sometimes running at full speed, runs over him or her.

Fans can pledge a donation for each charge the women’s team takes during the season, with each month dedicated to a different disease. The funds collected are donated to the respective foundation. If, for instance, a person pledges $1 per charge and the team takes 10 charges in a month, the foundation would receive $10.

Kara Cassidy, an assistant coach for the women’s basketball team, says the staff came up with idea about a month before the season began while they were looking for a community service initiative. “We were talking about a way that we could touch a couple different causes in one season instead of dedicating it only to one foundation,” she says.

November was dedicated to the ALS Association of America and the team raised nearly $1,000. December aided the Lupus Foundation of America, and January benefited the Michael J. Fox Foundation, which works to treat Parkinson’s disease. February is dedicated to Susan G. Komen for the Cure for breast cancer research, and March supports the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

To support the cause, email Cassidy at karacass@upenn.edu or visit www.pennathletics.com.

Got a question for Benny? Send it via e-mail to current@pobox.upenn.edu or via regular mail to the Current, 200 Sansom Place East, 3600 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6106.

Originally published on February 3, 2011