More Than Research By lauRen murray

Pink streamers and pink breast cancer ribbons flooded the pool area at the Ithaca College Athletics and Events Center on Dec. 1-3. The Ithaca College men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams also adorned pink swim caps in honor of its “Pink” meet hosted by IC Unites for HER.

The pool was decorated in pink streamers and pink breast cancer ribbons.

President of the IC chapter, graduate student Nickie Griesemer, started the campus organization last year.

“We try to bridge the gap between the medical and wellness communities by providing complementary therapies like acupuncture, yoga, massage therapy, and nutrition counseling, things like that to women and men on campus affected by breast cancer,” Griesemer said. “It’s not just research. That’s all important, but it’s a different component actually providing something to the women and men with breast cancer.”

The table of merchandise at the swimming and diving meet Dec. 1-3

Varsity sports teams’ partnership

To raise money, the IC chapter developed a partnership with the varsity sports teams. They run a “Pink” game, meet or match for every sport once during the sports’ respective season. The most recent “Pink” meet was the Ithaca Bomber Invitational for the men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams.

Griesemer is also a diver on the women’s diving team, and she used that connection with the college’s varsity athletics to develop its current partnership. She said the teams would wear something pink during the event like socks or laces and have them make a raffle basket.

At the “Pink” game, IC Unites for HER sets up a table selling merchandise, including t-shirts, bags, baked goods and other accessories. All proceeds help those fighting breast cancer in the Ithaca College community pay for a form of complementary therapy.

The swimmers and divers wore pink caps, and the electronic boards also displayed in pink.

Unite for HER

Griesemer has been with the national organization since it was founded in 2009.

“I ran a few events with my diving team in high school and my tennis team,” she said. “So when I came here it was something that I really wanted to do as a goal since I came to IC.”

The Unite for HER founder, Sue Weldon, was her gymnastics coach for 13 years. Weldon, a breast cancer survivor, discovered the healing powers to complementary therapies while undergoing chemotherapy, said Nickie.

“She was like a second mom to me at the gym,” Griesemer said. “She was coaching me through not only gymnastics but different life events.”

The merchandise table by IC Unites for HER

Weldon was diagnosed in 2004 and she quickly discovered a lack of accessible resources for breast cancer patients to aid to their spiritual, emotional and physical needs during treatments.

Griesemer said Weldon was able to afford complementary therapies, but not a lot of people can because they are not covered by insurance.

“They’re really helpful when you’re going through this, but it’s hard to get them,” she said. “People don’t have access to them so her goal was to provide as many people with breast cancer access to these therapies.”

Nickie’s Influence

Griesemer is accompanied by many of her friends in IC Unites for HER, including her sister, sophomore Julie Griesemer, and roommate, graduate student Jess Snellen. Julie and Snellen credit Nickie for bringing Unite for HER to the Ithaca community.

Julie said Nickie helped spread Unite for HER beyond the Philadelphia area, where it’s based out of, by creating A chapter at Ithaca College.

Left, Jess Snellen, and Right, Julie Griesemer, watching the swimming and diving meet.

Snellen said being a part of IC Unites for HER is a big part of who she is on campus.

“It’s a great organization,” Snellen said. “Everybody should be involved.”

Created By
Lauren Murray

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