ATLANTA (January 24, 2011) – The American Cancer Society will honor Georgia Tech Basketball Coach Paul Hewitt and University of Maryland Basketball Coach Gary Williams on Sunday, January 30, for their support of the Society’s fight against cancer. During the matchup between the two Atlanta Coast Conference teams on Coaches vs. Cancer’s Suits and Sneakers® weekend, Coach Hewitt‘s special guests for the game will be cancer patients and their caregivers from the Society’s Hope Lodge in Atlanta. They will watch the game from the Coach’s Corner at Alexander Memorial Coliseum on the Georgia Tech campus.
Hewitt and Williams will join other basketball coaches nationwide on Suits and Sneakers weekend, January 28-30, wearing sneakers with their suits to show their support for the American Cancer Society’s work to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays for everyone.
Coaches vs. Cancer is a collaborative initiative of the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) that empowers coaches, their teams and local communities to make a difference in the fight against cancer.
“We may be battling on the court night in and night out, but as coaches, we’re on the same team when it comes to reminding our basketball community and our fans about taking an active role in reducing our risk of cancer and in fighting back on behalf of those who face a cancer diagnosis,” Hewitt said. “Suits and Sneakers awareness weekend is all about challenging us all to get involved in the fight for every birthday threatened by cancer in every community.”
The Society’s Winn-Dixie Hope Lodge in Atlanta provides free lodging for cancer patients, along with their caregivers, who are undergoing treatment in Atlanta-area medical facilities. The Lodge, located on the Emory University campus, offers a home away from home for patients and caregivers.
By lacing up sneakers with their suits on the event’s seventh annual awareness weekend, college and high school basketball coaches across the country will spotlight the fact that while cancer remains a major health concern, everyone can take daily steps to reduce their risk of the disease. For those who do not smoke, weight control, exercise and a healthy diet are the best ways to improve health and reduce cancer risk. In the United States, extra weight and obesity contribute to 14-to-20 percent of all cancer-related deaths.
“Coaches vs. Cancer is a vital link between the basketball community and the American Cancer Society’s commitment to saving lives by helping people stay well and get well, by finding cures and by fighting back against a disease which has taken too much,” said Stephen L. Swanson, 2010-11 national volunteer chair, American Cancer Society Board of Directors. “Like so many of us, these coaches have a personal connection to cancer. And, because of their visibility in their communities and nationwide, they also have a unique and invaluable opportunity to reach people with important information about how they can reduce their risk of cancer, particularly by maintaining a healthy weight and by being physically active.”
In addition to Hewitt and Williams, other active Coaches vs. Cancer participants include: Jim Boeheim (Syracuse); Mike Brey (Notre Dame); Jim Calhoun (Connecticut); Bobby Cremins (College of Charleston); Ed DeChellis (Penn State); Fran Dunphy (Temple); Mark Few (Gonzaga); Jeff Gamber (York College); Mike Krzyzewski (Duke); Phil Martelli (Saint Joseph’s); Oliver Purnell (DePaul); Orlando “Tubby” Smith (Minnesota); Bruce Weber (Illinois); and Roy Williams (North Carolina).
Last year, Hewitt and his wife, Dawnette, co-chaired “The BasketBALL: Celebrating A Season of Hope” gala in Atlanta to raise funds and awareness to benefit the Society’s Hope Lodge. The event raised more than $300,000 in its inaugural year. The Hewitts will chair the second year of the gala, scheduled for Saturday, May 21, at the Ritz-Carlton in Buckhead. Hewitt will be joined by Bobby Cremins, basketball coach at the College of Charleston and former coach at GA Tech, and an “A” list of sports and media personalities from around the country.
For further information on Coaches vs. Cancer, visit www.cancer.org.
The American Cancer Society combines an unyielding passion with nearly a century of experience to save lives and end suffering from cancer. As a global grassroots force of more than three million volunteers, we fight for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. We save lives by helping people stay well by preventing cancer or detecting it early; by helping people get well by being there for them during and after a cancer diagnosis; by finding cures through investment in groundbreaking discovery; and by fighting back by rallying lawmakers to pass laws to defeat cancer and by rallying communities worldwide to join the fight. As the nation’s largest non-governmental investor in cancer research, contributing more than $3.5 billion, we turn what we know about cancer into what we do. As a result, more than 11 million people in America who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will be celebrating birthdays this year. To learn more about us or to get help, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit cancer.org.