All throughout the Southwestern League on Thursday, January 23rd, coaches for all the boys and girls basketball teams got involved in the “Coaches vs Cancer” campaign, wearing sneakers with their game outfits in a show of solidarity for the cause. “For me, it’s personal, having lost close relatives to cancer,” said Vista Murrieta boys coach Andy Rucker, “Hopefully, the kids get a sense of joining together in a cause that’s bigger than the game of basketball.”
Donations were collected at the games and special T-shirts were sold to support the cause of the American Cancer Society. Last year’s efforts raised $7,000; this year’s goal is to double that.
The “Coaches vs Cancer” program is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) that empowers basketball coaches, their teams and local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer. The program leverages the personal experiences, community leadership and professional excellence of basketball coaches nationwide to increase cancer awareness and promote healthy living through year-round awareness efforts, fund-raising activities and advocacy programs. Throughout the night at these games, announcements were made about the importance of cancer prevention, early detection and making healthy lifestyle choices.
The vision and inspiration for the “Coaches vs Cancer” program came from Norm Stewart, former head coach at the University of Missouri, who is a cancer survivor. He started the program by challenging fans to pledge a dollar amount for every 3-point shot made by his team during the season. That simple idea has evolved into a nationwide effort, uniting college and high school coaches, players, fans and communities across the country in the fight against cancer. The goal is “a world with less cancer and more birthdays.”
Donations can still be made by texting “Coach” to 20222 from any mobile phone. The American Cancer Society can be contacted at: 800-227-2345.