At just after 12:45, less than 20 minutes before scheduled first pitch at O.Co Coliseum, a single pink balloon broke loose from the hundreds held in center field.
Unlike most helium-filled balloons, though, this one did not immediately flutter away. For more than a minute this balloon hovered over the center field bleachers, as if it were soaking up a wonderful view one last time.
The mass of balloons represented part of The 17th Annual Oakland A’s Breast Cancer Awareness Day. The one free balloon, however, may have represented any one of the more than 40,000 lives that breastcancer.org estimates will have been lost to the disease in 2015.
The event honors those who have “courageously battled breast cancer,” according to a press release put out by the team:
“The event raises funds to support research, education, advocacy and free services for cancer patients and their families throughout the Bay Are.”
The 2015 installment of the event was presented by the soft drink company Zevia.
The festivities began with more than 350 Bay Area native breast cancer survivors, wearing pink A’s jersey with the number 17 stitched on the back, forming the ribbon of hope in the outfield.
After forming the ribbon, a dule of white doves were released – serving as a “symbol of hope” – to circle the coliseum. Also, pink BCA Day scarves were presented to the first 10,000 of the almost 20,000 fans in attendance.
In addition to the pregame revelry, the A’s and Zevia also hosted a silent auction.
The auction, also presented by Zevia in partnership with the A’s, featured, among other items, a pair of NBA MVP signature Curry One pink high-top sneakers.
As if the shoes alone were not enough to garner mass interest, the shoes displayed autographs of the Golden State Warriors star guard on the toes of both shoes.
Along with the auction, A’s merchandise kiosks sold pink commemorative memorabilia – hats, jerseys and heart ribbon pendants – and fan donations were accepted.
In all the day’s event raised $75,400, according to a release made available by the team. All the proceeds benefit the American Cancer Society as well as the Cancer Prevention Institution of California.
Also, for the 12th consecutive year, the A’s donated a $5,000 “Gift of Faith” grant, in the memory of former KTVU Channel 2 reporter Faith Fancher.
This year’s recipient was Charlotte Maxwell Clinic – “a local non-profit organization that supports and empowers low-income women with cancer.”
Thanks to the donations of the numerous sponsors, as well as generous spending by fans in attendance, profits have now eclipsed a total of $1.5 million in the 17-year history of the event, according to the A’s.
If the lingering balloon did in fact represent an A’s fan soaking up an afternoon game, it may not have not have enjoyed the outcome on the scoreboard.
But the final score of the event was everything anyone involved could have asked for.