Penn State University: Sales of temporarily renamed creamery flavor to aid breast cancer organization

A popular Penn State Berkey Creamery ice cream flavor will don a new look during the month of February in support of a worthy cause.

The creamery temporarily will rebrand its traditional strawberry flavor as “PA Pink Zone Strawberry” in honor of the Pennsylvania Pink Zone, a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting cancer awareness and empowering survivors.

The flavor, which will feature a new label with the Pink Zone logo, will be available for scooping in the creamery’s retail store and available in half-gallons for purchase in-store and online. A portion of proceeds from sales of the flavor will be given to Pink Zone, according to Jim Brown, creamery sales and marketing manager.

“Over the years, we have been fortunate to build these partnerships and strengthen the bonds across Penn State,” Brown said. “We are proud to help the Pink Zone achieve its goal to unite Central Pennsylvania in the fight against breast cancer. The creamery is honored and humbled to have such wonderful partners who support truly earnest causes.”

Mitch Kirsch, Pink Zone’s board president, explained that the organization was established more than a decade ago, on the heels of the Penn State women’s basketball team’s effort to raise breast cancer awareness by dedicating one of its February games to the cause.

“Wearing pink uniforms and honoring 30 breast cancer survivors, the Penn State Lady Lions set a precedent for February in college basketball,” said Kirsch. “The first game and T-shirt sales in 2007 raised more than $20,000 for breast cancer research. Along with this new tradition, Pink Zone was born.”

Since then, Pink Zone has distributed more than $2 million to support those affected by breast cancer through five local health care organizations: Mount Nittany Medical Center, Penn State Cancer Institute, PA Breast Cancer Coalition, Geisinger-Lewistown Hospital and Penn Highlands Healthcare. Pink Zone also is a mission partner of the national Kay Yow Cancer Fund, supporting innovative breast cancer research.

This past fall, the Pink Zone board met to discuss new ways to promote the annual Pink Zone basketball game. That’s when board member Roberta Hardin suggested pursuing a creamery ice cream flavor. Kirsch said the board loved the idea, so Steve Sampsell, chairman of its marketing committee, worked with Brown and others at the creamery to bring the concept to fruition. The result was “PA Pink Zone Strawberry.”

“The creamery has great reach, as does Penn State Athletics, so adding a creamery flavor for February will make more people aware of Pink Zone,” Sampsell said. “We hope people will see our logo and will want to know more about what we do — and what we do is help to fund research as well as fund direct support efforts for people who need help while they’re dealing with breast cancer treatments and other stressors related to battling a disease.”

The Lady Lions’ 2022 Play4Kay/Pink Zone game begins at 2 p.m. Feb. 6 at the Bryce Jordan Center on the University Park campus. Kirsch said breast cancer survivors and their family members will be honored during a pregame opening ceremony.

“We hope that creamery customers will think of breast cancer patients and their families and consider how they can help,” said Kirsch, who commended the creamery and the Penn State women’s basketball program for their support. “And because the creamery sells ice cream online, any fan of the creamery can be part of the Pink Zone craze no matter where they live.”

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