Oct. 12, 2012
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech's football team has received plenty of support from the Lincoln Parish community in recent years.
And the Bulldogs, thanks to many of their friends, were able to give back on Thursday evening.
Hundreds flocked to Squire Creek Country Club to participate in the second annual WIGGIN'OUT event, which is part of the sixth annual "Bulldogs Tackling Breast Cancer" campaign.
The event featured heavy hors d'oeuvres and beverages, a signature drink called The Pink Wig, a silent auction, a grand prize raffle of a pearl necklace from National Jewelers, a style show by Lewis' Boutique and more.
Lady Techsters basketball coach Teresa Weatherspoon went back to her point guard days and quarterbacked the event, which also featured breast cancer survivor Amy Avant, who gave an emotional speech about the ordeal of facing a battle against the disease.
Louisiana Tech Associate Athletic Director for Marketing and Game Management Leah Beasley, who served as one of the hosts for the event, said coordinating it was a team effort.
"It all stemmed from an idea of Vicki Caskey, a representative with The Minute Magazine," Beasley said. "It started with a team of representatives of Northern Louisiana Medical Center, The Minute Magazine and LA Tech Athletics. We also got amazing support from The Ruston Daily Leader, Donnie Bell Design and Squire Creek."
Beasley said the event raised well over $10,000 over the course of the night with the money going to provide wigs for cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy who may not be able to afford one otherwise.
"The two words that I keep using to describe the event's success are "blown away," Beasley said. "We're absolutely blown away by the support of the community for this awesome cause. From the beginning our mission has been to honor those who have fought and are fighting cancer while promoting a celebration of life, and our mission was clearly achieved! At one point during the night, I was standing with Vicki Caskey of The Minute Magazine and Elizabeth Turnley with Northern Louisiana Medical Center and we were just so touched by how the community embraced this initiative we've worked so hard to encourage.
"There was an amazing aura in the room, a unity -- everyone was there reveling for one common interest. It was gratifying to look around the room and to see the silent auction tables full of `friendly fighting' over the wonderful items donated, ladies dancing to the shuffle, the wigged LA Tech Baseball players selling raffle tickets and even exceeding their goal. And who could forget Teresa Weatherspoon keeping it lively in her chicken headdress at the podium. It was such a great night!"
Caskey was also pleased with the turnout.
"As I looked out over the crowd last night I was overcome with emotion on several occasions throughout the night," Caskey said. "The support shown for this cause is proof that when people stand together great things happen. I can't wait for next year! Hats off to the Wiggin'Out team, sponsors, donors and ticket holders for making it possible to help so many. I am humbled to be a part of a community that so warmly embraced my simple idea."
Turnley also expressed her thanks to those who attended.
"The show of support during last night's event was unbelievable," Turnley said. "We were expecting a great turn out but this by far exceeded what we were hoping for. It was truly a great feeling to watch everyone having a great time while helping raise money for a great cause. This event could not have happened without the generous support of those who attended."
Louisiana Tech Associate Media Relations Director Patrick Walsh urged attendees to purchase raffle tickets to help with the cause.
"We need everyone to give to this great cause," Walsh told the crowd. "The average cost of a base, cheap wig is $125. The cost of an average decent wig is $220-$250. We can help so many people tonight, but we need you to give in order to do so."
Weatherspoon wrote a $500 check to donate and challenged everyone else attending to match her donation.
"Yes I challenge you to match," Weatherspoon said. "But you don't even have to do that. Whatever you can give, can't you do that? Every little bit helps."
After the event Weatherspoon admitted her elation about the way things went.
"It was a magical night," Weatherspoon said. "The thing is, we're making a difference in the lives of people who really need that boost, and that's an incredible feeling. It's something special when you can give back to people who really appreciate the effort."
One touching moment came when Ruston's Lisa Lacayo had stylist Susie Nation cut Lacayo's long blond hair in front of the crowd to donate for the cause.
"I stopped at a gas station one day and there was a girl there wearing a scarf," Lacayo said. "I made the assumption she was sick and at that moment thought `I've got all this long hair that I could really make a difference with by donating it.
"A few minutes later I met her mom and talked to her and found out the girl was wearing the scarf because of a chewing gum accident and that was the reason her hair looked that way. But I told myself the Lord works in mysterious ways and a promise is a promise. My husband also has a family member experiencing cancer, so it just seemed like the opportune time."
In the end, Avant's tearful speech said it all.
"You can't really know what cancer and chemotherapy are like until you experience it," Avant said. "But to see so many people caring and working for this cause is overwhelming. This event will mean more to some people than many of you will ever know. It's a wonderful cause and there isn't enough thanks for everyone who put this together and for those who came out to support cause. It's a night to remember."
Couldn't make the event but still want to donate? Please call 318-254-2426 or send a check to NLMC - Wiggin' Out, 401 East Vaughn Avenue, Ruston, LA 71270.
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