2 February 2016
World Cancer Day is on 4 February 2016, a global event that unites the world in the fight against cancer.
The special day aims to save millions of preventable deaths each year by raising awareness of and education about the disease, pressing governments and individuals across the world to take action. South Africa has a long tradition of giving its support to the fight against cancer. And in recent years South African cricket has become a strong supporter of the cause.
Cricket South Africa (CSA) and PinkDrive have urged cricket fans to support the team during their traditional Pink One Day International (ODI) against England at Wanderers, Johannesburg on 12 February.
It’s the third time the Proteas have donned the pink for a good cause, and according to CSA, previous events have raised almost half-a-million rand for local cancer awareness programmes and non-profit organisations. The money is used to buy mobile mammography and gynaecology testing centres.
This year, CSA hopes to raise R1 000 000 and fans can contribute by sending an SMS with the keyword PINKDRIVE to 40158.
“Our support for PinkDrive is one of our foremost social programmes and underlines the fact that cricket has a broader responsibility within society,” said CSA chief executive Haroon Lorgat at the PinkDrive launch on 26 January. “The Pink ODI (will) mobilise cricket fans and the CSA family in support of a most worthy cause.”
CSA, Bidvest, the Gauteng Cricket Board and sponsors, including Momentum and Castle Lager, will all contribute to the pink theme of the day, as well as raise funds. In addition to the Pink Proteas, billboards and branding around the Wanderers stadium will be decked out in pink. Merchandise, including hats and T- shirts, will be on sale for the day.
As is tradition for the PinkDrive match, sponsors have offered players game incentives to add to the contributions.
Momentum will donate R10 000 for every six hit into its family area spectators’ zone, and R100 000 for every boundary that hits a giant inflatable M placed in the arena.
Castle wants to donate R10 000 for every catch of the day, while R2.50 from every beer sold on the day will also be donated to PinkDrive.
Venue sponsors Bidvest will donate R1 000 every time the ball hits the (pink, naturally) branded boundary rope.
Highlights from previous PinkDrive games
— ESPN Caribbean (@ESPN_Caribbean) January 16, 2016
In 2015, South Africa played in pink against the West Indies at Wanderers. It seemed as if the colour came packed with luck as AB de Villiers, Riley Rossouw and Hashim Amla all scored centuries to give South Africa a total of 439, surpassing the highest score in one-day international cricket. The Proteas held the previous record of 438 in the legendary game against Australia in 2006.
Captain De Villiers led from the front, scoring the fastest century in one-day international history.
The history of cricket and pink
International cricket’s association with cancer awareness began in 2005, with the formation of the McGrath Foundation. That fundraising and awareness initiative was started by former Australian fast bowler Glenn McGrath and his wife, Jane.
Following Jane McGrath’s initial diagnosis and successful treatment for breast cancer, the couple wanted to use their status in the cricketing world and Australian society to draw attention to the need for cancer technology research and awareness for women, particularly young women, to have regular cancer checks.
Initially a standard fundraising operation, the foundation’s pink-themed cricket events boosted its popularity, first in Australian domestic competitions and later in official games by the national side.
Now in its tenth year, the foundation holds regular annual pink events, including the Sydney Pink Test, an iconic centrepiece of the charity held during Australia’s home Test match in January every year. In February, around World Cancer Day, there is a number of charity matches played featuring pink stumps. On 31 January 2016, Australia also played a Pink T20 in Sydney against the touring Indian team.
Jane McGrath died in 2008, but her memory lives on in the pink initiatives held by cricketing nations around the world on World Cancer Day, including in South Africa.