ATLANTA, Nov. 10, 2017 / -USNewswire/ -- What started as a challenge for fans to pledge money in the fight against cancer by Norm Stewart, the former University of Missouri Men's Basketball Coach, has evolved over the past 25 years into the national program Coaches vs. Cancer, with more than 2,000 coaches involved and more than $110 million raised to fight cancer.
In 1993, the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) teamed up and adopted Coach Stewart's pilot program, transforming it into a nationwide effort to unite coaches across the country with the common mission to beat cancer. As a result, funds raised over the past 25 years have helped the American Cancer Society provide patients with more than 335,000 rides to treatment as part of the Road to Recovery program and more than 450,000 free nights at Hope Lodge facilities, as well as supporting over 15 million cancer survivors.
"Cancer is a strong opponent, but it's not as strong as us. We will beat cancer, but we need everyone on our team," said Phil Martelli, head basketball coach, Saint Joseph's University and chair of the Coaches vs. Cancer Council. "We've made a lot of progress during the last 25 years, and we will continue until our help is no longer needed."
"We are celebrating the 25th Anniversary of Coaches vs. Cancer with the tipoff of the 2017-18 season. Thanks to the efforts of Coach Stewart, this program has become a national movement of coaches uniting alongside fans, students, and communities which helps us attack cancer from every angle," said Sharon Byers, chief development and marketing officer, American Cancer Society. "Every coach, every fan, every dollar raised gets us closer to our goal of defeating this disease forever."
The University of Missouri is honoring Coach Stewart's contributions to the University of Missouri basketball program, both as a player and as its head coach for 32 years, by dedicating a more than life size statue of him in front of Mizzou Arena on November 10. He founded the "3-Point Attack" as a pilot program at Mizzou after his personal battle with colon cancer, to rally fans to help make a difference in the fight against cancer. The very next year the NABC adopted the program as their only charity of choice and it then became Coaches vs. Cancer. Guided by the Coaches vs. Cancer Council, participating coaches help people with cancer today and to find cures to end the disease tomorrow, supporting the American Cancer Society's mission.
About Coaches vs. Cancer
For the last 25 years, the Coaches vs. Cancer program has united basketball coaches and fans nationwide in collaboration with the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches to defeat a common enemy: cancer. With your passion and dedicated support, the impact has been felt in communities nationwide. Through fundraising and education initiatives including Suits & Sneakers Week and the 3-Point Challenge, Coaches vs. Cancer has worked together with the Society to help increase the number of cancer survivors to more than 15 million strong. The fight isn't over, and we need you on our team. To learn more about the Coaches vs. Cancer program, visit coachesvscancer.org or visit us on social media at @CoachesvsCancer.