Robin Draper doesn't dare think about the alternative.
But on days like today when the Fresno State women's basketball team is set to wear pink as part of its Breast Cancer Awareness Game, the Bulldogs guard is sure to hug her mom a little longer.
"It's definitely close and personal," Draper said of the off-court cause attached to the 7 p.m. game in which the Bulldogs (13-9, 7-4 Mountain West) will host Nevada (12-10, 7-4) at the Save Mart Center. "I'm one of the lucky ones having mom still here.
"I can only imagine what women go through. My mom lost all of her hair. It's really inspiring to me to know that she went through what a lot of women have to go through."
Teammate Bree Farley can relate. Her mother also is a breast cancer survivor.
Both players were young when the diagnoses were made.
They were too little to understand exactly what was going on, yet still vividly recall memories of their moms' fights.
"I remember my family telling me that Mom was sick and that I should be on my best behavior so that she could recover," Farley said. "She was diagnosed with breast cancer when she turned 40 years old. She had to go through chemo (therapy) and (radiation). I just remember her being sick a lot, being in bed.
"But she'd still send us off to school and be there when we got back. I don't know how she did it. She was phenomenal."
One of the goals of the Breast Cancer Awareness Game is to encourage women to get health screenings. But it's also to honor those who've dealt with the disease.
The American Cancer Society recommends women undergo clinical breast cancer exams every three years once they reach their 20s and have annual mammograms starting at 40.
Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women, behind lung cancer, and more than 230,000 new cases of "invasive breast cancer" will be diagnosed in U.S. women in 2014, according to the American Cancer Society.
The Bulldogs' pink uniforms that will be worn during the game will be auctioned off on the school's athletic website, www.gobulldogs.com. Proceeds benefit the Susan G. Komen Central Valley chapter and the Play4Kay organizations.
Fresno State coach Raegan Pebley and Hendricks Chevrolet have teamed to donate $1,000 to the Play4Kay organization — named for former North Carolina State coach Kay Yow, who died in 2009 after her third bout.
"There's so many of our players and on our coaching staff … people who they love dearly … with breast cancer," Pebley said. "You can gain so much inspiration. That's true fight. That's true toughness."
Thompson likely to play
Fresno State point guard Taylor Thompson is expected to play in tonight's game despite rolling her ankle twice Saturday in a loss at San Jose State.
Forward Alex Sheedy, however, remains sidelined with a lower-leg injury.
The Bulldogs have been struggling lately, alternating wins and losses the past seven games, but Pebley reminded her team about how it is six points from being 10-1 in the conference.
Among the close defeats: 63-60 at Nevada, 70-69 to San Diego State and 68-66 at San Jose State.
"Those close losses are really, really hard and so disappointing, knowing that you're right there," Farley said. "It's definitely disappointing. It's tough, but I think that knowing we still have a lot of games to come, it only makes us want to work harder.
"You learn a lot from those type of losses."
The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6362, email@example.com or @Banteola_TheBee on Twitter.