Buffs Partner With UCHealth For Bigger Than Basketball Initiative
BOULDER – One of the signature slogans for the University of Colorado men's basketball program is to play for the name on the front of the jersey, not the back.
On Saturday, the Buffaloes will take the opposite approach, and for a very good reason.
Colorado has teamed up with UCHealth in its "Bigger Than Basketball" initiative, helping to continue awareness in the fight against cancer while also honoring those who are battling or have overcome this disease.
When the Buffaloes suit up for their game against CSU Bakersfield on Saturday, Dec. 18, 12 p.m. at the CU Events Center, the usual names on the backs of the jerseys will be replaced with names of cancer patients, or more appropriately cancer "fighters." Several of those whose names will be represented on the Buffaloes' jerseys will be in attendance and honored during the game Saturday with others being able to watch remotely.
"On behalf of our patients and their families and friends, this will be an amazing tribute to see college athletes on the court playing in their honor," said Khari Reed, UCHealth's senior director of cancer care services in the Metro Denver region. "We greatly appreciate student-athletes dedicating their talent and gifts to showcase extraordinary individuals who are fighting or have fought cancer.
"To all the fans in the stands and watching from afar, we thank you for standing together with us to support, celebrate and honor loved ones as we improve the lives of cancer patients through advancements in clinical care, discovery and education."
The Buffaloes were able to see the jerseys on Wednesday with names of those that they will playing for on Saturday. That was followed by a zoom call where they were able to virtually meet some of the cancer fighters and hear the first-hand stories of their courageous battles.
"For me personally, it's a gratifying experience when you can hear other peoples' stories and what they are going through and try to symbolize their fight onto the court," senior forward Evan Battey said. "For our team, that's going to be the theme on Saturday; fight is what they are doing and that's what we have to do as well.
"The uphill battle for them, it speaks volumes to their character and mindset and that's what we should embody as a team. So, I feel like our guys are going to be really excited and motivated to play well and perform with a lot of energy because we're going to fight for them."
UCHealth offers the most advanced cancer care with locations throughout Colorado, the eastern plains, and southern Wyoming. Specialists collaborate across regions to provide optimal diagnosis and treatment.
Through UCHealth's unique partnership with the University of Colorado Cancer Center – the only Comprehensive Cancer Center in Colorado designated by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and one of just 51 in the country — the health system gives patients the benefit of cutting-edge science and the expertise of an academic center close to home.