Vikettes Denise Perez, left and Lycy Howes-Vonstein escort survivor Erma Neve during Pink Night.

The Vinton-Shellsburg girls basketball team continued its tradition of honoring breast cancer survivors on Friday, with its annual Pink Night.

The Vikettes wore pink uniforms with the message “Beat Cancer” on the front, and escorted survivors to the court before the varsity game.

“We have been able to donate over 10,000 dollars to help the women of Benton Country and surrounding areas,” says Vikette coach Aaron Zuspann. “Breast Cancer is effecting a high number of women in our county.  By donating to the Gifts of Hope Fund we are giving our girls Hope that sometime in their life time that we can end this disease.  It is extremely important to give back to our community in a meaningful way and I am proud of what we have accomplished with partnering with Virginia Gay hospitals to help our community.”

Along with honoring breast cancer survivors, the event memorializes those who have died from the disease. Special recognition was given on Friday to Delores Van Echen, who died at age 89 in August. She was a long-time cancer survivor. Delores’ daughter, Peggy Weideman, represented Delores and received a bouquet of flowers from Coach Zuzpann. An empty chair among the line of survivors represented Delores and the rest.

“I was so honored to receive her pink rose bouquet,” said Peggy. “It was a celebration because she was a 45-year survivor.”

The event included a raffle for a gift basket (won by survivor Maureen Haisman) and a pink basketball (won by survivor Diana Bramow).

The first Pink Night, in 2010, led to the creation of the Survivors of Benton County support group, which meets monthly to help women who are facing, or have faced, breast cancer.

The event was a success in every way, except for the scoreboard. The Vikettes are still looking for their first win of the season. At one point, said Zuspann, all five starters were out due to injury. On Friday, vs. Maquoketa, the Vikettes took an early lead, were up 23-11 at the end of the first quarter, and did not trail until the fourth quarter. But they lost to Maquoketa, 71-57.

The Vikettes will honor the late Monica Huelman Zaruba during Tuesday’s game.

See more photos HERE.