INDIANAPOLIS (April 5, 2015) – University of Iowa’s basketball coach Fran McCaffery was honored with the Coaches vs. Cancer Champion Award, presented Sunday, April 5 during Final Four Weekend in Indianapolis.
The honor is awarded annually to a college coach who has been engaged vigorously in the Coaches vs. Cancer program’s fundraising, education and promotional initiatives and has demonstrated leadership in the fight to save more lives from cancer.
Working as a team with wife Margaret McCaffery, Coach McCaffery turned their family struggle into an open and ardent fight. When their 13-year old son Patrick was diagnosed with a cancerous tumor during the 2014 NCAA tournament, the McCaffery’s shared their grief, fear and struggle with the team, their fans, and the world at large. They directed contributions to the American Cancer Society and Coaches vs Cancer, and many fundraisers started spontaneously, including T-shirts sales with #teampat to fund cancer research.
For 15 years, the McCafferys have been involved actively with the Coaches vs. Cancer program and have raised significant funds to support the American Cancer Society’s efforts, including more than $1.3 million since 2010. Coach McCaffery’s work has been instrumental in promoting cancer awareness throughout Iowa and the surrounding region.
“The American Cancer Society, in conjunction with the NABC, is pleased to recognize Coach Fran McCaffery and his wife Margaret for their outstanding work with Coaches vs. Cancer,” said Dr. John Seffrin, American Cancer Society’s Chief Executive Officer. “Together they pose a formidable force in the fight against cancer and we are grateful for their ongoing commitment to the Society’s lifesaving work.”
The Champion Award was instituted in 1996, with former Missouri coach Norm Stewart receiving the inaugural citation. Since that time, the award has honored head coaches Jim Boeheim (Syracuse); Denny Crum (Louisville); Roy Williams (then at Kansas and now at North Carolina); Riley Wallace (Hawaii); Fran Dunphy (then at Pennsylvania and now at Temple); Gary Williams (Maryland); Mark Few (Gonzaga); Mike Brey (Notre Dame); Bruce Weber (then at Illinois, now at Kansas State); Jim Calhoun (Connecticut); Tom Izzo (Michigan State); Oliver Purnell (DePaul); Paul Hewitt (the at Georgia Tech and now at George Mason); Lon Kruger (Oklahoma); Bo Ryan (Wisconsin); Steve Lavin (St. John’s University) and now McCaffery.
Several other national events throughout the year continue to highlight the productive work of Coaches vs. Cancer, including the Coaches’ Huddle and Fight Cancer In Style – an event for coaches’ wives – held April 4 at the Hyatt Regency during the Final Four weekend; and the 15th Annual Coaches vs. Cancer Golf Invitational, June 7-8 at East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta.
About the American Cancer Society
The American Cancer Society is a global grassroots force of 2.5 million volunteers saving lives and fighting for every birthday threatened by every cancer in every community. As the largest voluntary health organization, the Society's efforts have contributed to a 20 percent decline in cancer death rates in the U.S. since 1991, and a 50 percent drop in smoking rates. Thanks in part to our progress, nearly 14 million Americans who have had cancer and countless more who have avoided it will celebrate more birthdays this year. We're finding cures as the nation’s largest private, not-for-profit investor in cancer research, ensuring people facing cancer have the help they need and continuing the fight for access to quality health care, lifesaving screenings, clean air, and more. For more information, to get help or to join the fight, call us anytime, day or night, at 1-800-227-2345 or visit www.cancer.org/fight
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