Westminster Wins Coaches vs. Cancer Challenge for Second Time in Two Chances
BY JIM MALVEN
The St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) announced earlier this month that Westminster finished first in a conference-wide fundraising competition for the American Cancer Society. Westminster collected nearly $1,800, while Fontbonne University finished second with over $800. The $1,800 raised accounts for almost two-thirds of the $2,739 raised by all 10 SLIAC schools.
This initiative was part of the Coaches vs. Cancer program, a collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. Coaches vs. Cancer’s website says that the program “empowers coaches, their teams and communities to join the fight against cancer by participating in awareness efforts, advocacy programs and fundraising activities.”
Last season, SLIAC became the first NCAA conference to sponsor a conference-wide partnership with the American Cancer Society, by holding a Coaches vs. Cancer Week. Westminster raised the most money in that competition as well.
Westminster’s Coaches vs. Cancer initiative is led by Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) members and aided by Blue Jay basketball players, said SAAC Adviser Julie White. This year, the members and players collected funds by selling HOPE cards and T-shirts in the Johnson College Inn on Jan. 24 and by selling raffle tickets and putting out donation buckets at the men’s and women’s Coaches vs. Cancer games the following night. All proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society, according to Tracey Braden, athletics director and head women’s basketball coach.
The American Cancer Society’s website states that the organization “attack[s] cancer from every angle,” by researching cancer and its causes, finding more answers and better treatments, fighting for lifesaving policy changes, offering emotional support and providing the latest cancer information for those who have been affected by cancer.
White said that the most rewarding parts of the Coaches vs. Cancer challenge were seeing her and her colleagues’ hard work pay off when people donated, and winning the competition. She said that her goal for next year is to raise at least as much money as this year and to win the competition for the third year in a row.
Earlier this month, SLIAC presented Westminster with a traveling trophy for winning the competition. The trophy is currently on display in the entrance of the Historic Gymnasium.