The Side Out Foundation, founder of Dig Pink®, teams with the volleyball community to inspire science and hope in the match against breast cancer.
In funding its own cutting-edge clinical trials at renowned medical institutions with the millions raised from various programs, Side Out couples research and empowerment in its unique approach to improving the lives of people afflicted by the disease.
Sadly, Joshua Bryant, director of marketing & merchandise, is no stranger to battling illness.
Below is a Q&A with Josh about his story and the important work being done at Side Out
What kind of role have sports played in your own life through the years, and how does that relate to your objectives with the Side-Out Foundation?
Sports have always been a huge part of my life. While growing up, I was always in season whether it be football, basketball, or soccer.
I learned so much about work ethic, leadership, and how to motivate myself and others to succeed. I believe that always giving your all and having something you really care about is important, and for me that was sports…playing or even just watching.
I believe that this translates well to my position with The Side-Out Foundation, as it is my job to motivate and encourage volleyball teams around the country to come together as one and be a part of such an amazing cause that is changing the way breast cancer is treated, especially in the area of stage 4.
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You have a history of being involved with nonprofit work, can you tell us about that? What motivates you to make a difference in the social impact arena?
I have always been involved with nonprofit work, raising funds for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation for as long as I can remember. I was diagnosed with CF before the age of one, so my family has always been big supporters of raising funds for CF research leading up to annual walks and events.
This connection is (obviously) very close to me, and being able to help make a difference in the future of the disease, including participating in clinical studies, is how I feel I can contribute to finally putting an end to Cystic Fibrosis.
In volleyball, “side-out” means regaining control of the ball. How does the Side-Out Foundation help people with breast cancer regain control of their lives?
The Side-Out Foundation has designed, developed, and funds it’s own clinical research, which is also the first of its kind.
Having been entirely funded by the sport of volleyball & the volleyball community through our Dig Pink® initiatives, the clinical trial examines the effects of individualized treatment on patients with metastatic (stage 4) breast cancer.
This “targeted therapy” provides doctors a better way to tailor cancer treatment, offering the hope of more precisely targeting cancerous cells and in turn reducing side effects and improving quality of life for those individuals.
Long term, what are you hoping to help achieve with your work at the Foundation? What can we do in the short term to support the cause?
Our cutting-edge research at The Side-Out Foundation is rolling into its third phase of the study, which will include the most patients that we have ever had.
In order to continue funding this research, we need support of individuals and the entire volleyball community to get behind this cause. The more support we can gather, the faster we can complete our study and give the stage 4 breast cancer community the results they need.
The other part of our mission is to make an impact on players who are involved with our cause. We look to build those individuals as people who understand the importance of philanthropy and helping others.
Funding is important, but educating the athletes about the late part of the disease to understand the significance of their support is also critical. The metastatic community is not talked about enough, and is often forgotten about. If we can help raise athletes to change this, then we are doing our job.
What simple advice can you give to people who are eager to make an impact but don’t know where to begin?
If you have a connection with the sport of volleyball, whether you play, have a child that plays, coach, or anything else…you should be a part of Side-Out and its mission.
We need the unity of the sport of volleyball to continue funding research. We have many ways volleyball programs can get involved through our Dig Pink® initiatives, whether they are high school, college, or club.
If you don’t have a connection to volleyball, but would love to help support the stage 4 breast cancer research that Side-Out is funding, you can make a donation at Side-Out.org and spreading the word about The Side-Out Foundation.