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When girls basketball teams whip out the pink uniforms in February, it’s not just for fashion.

While most onlookers understand the pink duds are symbolic of breast-cancer support, it goes beyond the mere gesture for many programs. For the Monarch girls, the cause hits close to home.

First-year assistant Julie Hoehing, a 1984 CU graduate and a member of the Buffaloes’ 1,000-point club, is a survivor of breast cancer and currently on the recovery side. Coyotes players first met Hoehing two summers ago when they participated in the Buffs4Life Family Fun Run, which raised about $8,000 for Hoehing’s treatment.

She has remained an astute basketball mind as a Buffs’ annual season-ticket holder, and circumstances meshed to where Monarch coach Gail Hook could add her to the bench this season. Hook played two seasons with Hoehing at CU.

“They know her as a survivor who has come into the program and made a significant positive influence on the players,” Hook said of her squad. “I sometimes don’t think they realize what she’s been through, because she comes in every day so enthused and so thankful she was able to overcome it.”

In addition at Monarch, the girls basketball team participated in a fundraiser to help benefit school counselor Mary Power, who is currently in the throes of breast cancer. The effort, which included selling pink T-shirts, shaving the heads of staff members and collecting donations, netted over $10,000.

Monarch also has become known for its annual Pink Game hosted by the softball team in the fall. Founder Michele Meska, a Monarch parent, has had multiple battles with the ailment.

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