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Why it's OK to wear purple

Barry McNamara
Although it’s normally not customary for the Monmouth College crowd to wear purple when rival Knox College comes to town, a notable exception will be made on Saturday, Feb. 19, for a women’s and men’s basketball doubleheader.

To promote the fight against cancer, “purple hand videos” have been springing up across the nation on college campuses. Monmouth College is in the process of shooting its own version of the popular video and is hoping to get lots of footage at the basketball games, which tip off at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

Examples of the videos include one shot by students at the University of Northern Iowa with purple-gloved students chasing and defeating a student in a “cancer” costume. A video from Georgia College & State University featured the song “Do You Remember” while students in purple gloves displayed hand-written messages about the cancer victims they were honoring.

In fact, GCSU was one of the first campuses to shoot such a video. The idea began at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, Ore., where staff members filmed themselves dancing around their hospital wearing pink gloves to raise breast cancer awareness. With millions of YouTube views, the Providence video became an Internet sensation. When a GCSU student saw it, she decided she wanted to do something similar for cancer, in general.

After GCSU students decided to make the video last year, they discovered an online contest with the very same idea, sponsored by Cause Keepers and Although the initial contest is over, new videos still have a purpose, explained sophomore Kevin Lindsay, communication chair for the new MC organization Colleges Against Cancer (CAC).

“Right now, our video is being made to raise awareness,” he said. “We also plan on holding a smaller Relay for Life in April that we are hoping will raise some money for the American Cancer Society. But for this being our first year as CAC, our main goal is to increase cancer awareness around campus and to educate students on ways of prevention and how they can help others.”

Monmouth’s purple hand video will include the song “Beat It” by Michael Jackson to “show our campus’ fight to beat cancer,” explained Lindsay. “We are hoping to get a lot of campus support. We want to get as many campus organizations, sports teams, faculty/staff and students in general to help and participate.”

So purple gloves will definitely be in style on Saturday. But in a gym where the Monmouth-Knox rivalry will be in full force, any other purple might be viewed as a wardrobe malfunction.

More information about Colleges Against Cancer is available from Lindsay or from senior Kayce DeRoo, who serves as the organization’s president.