Everyone’s a Victor in Wolverine-Badger challenge
Before their football game even started on Saturday, U-M had already beaten Wisconsin. But fans on both sides had something to cheer about.
The first-ever Wolverine-Badger challenge between C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital and the University of Wisconsin’s American Family Children’s Hospital helped raise more than $5.9 million for pediatric cancer research.
The football game between the two schools was the culmination of a month-long competition between the rivals to see who could raise the most money during September’s Childhood Cancer Awareness month.
And while U-M came out on top, children stand to benefit the most from the challenge. “In one month, Wolverine and Badger fans helped raise more than $5.9 million to support groundbreaking research to find better, safer cures for childhood cancers. Everyone wins,” said Valerie Opipari, M.D., a pediatric oncologist and chair of the Department of Pediatrics and Communicable Diseases at Mott.
Nine-year-old Ethan Watts, who is fighting leukemia, led the marching band to Michigan Stadium Saturday and was invited onto the field to accept the plaque on behalf of Mott.
The Wolverine-Badger challenge was part of the Block Out Cancer campaign at Mott, designed to increase awareness about the need for pediatric cancer research.
The campaign’s goal is to support the more than 40,000 kids who will be treated for cancer this year. Despite great advancements in research and treatment, one in five children don’t survive a cancer diagnosis. Cancer remains the leading cause of death by disease among children in the U.S.
Currently, only 4 percent of federal funding for cancer research supports children’s cancer.
Several celebrities and athletes have participated in the Block Out Cancer campaign, including NFL stars Charles Woodson, Randy Moss, Matt Hasselbeck, Trent Dilfer, Drew Stanton and LaMarr Woodley. Other participants have included Top Chef Fabio Viviani, actor Jack Falahee, ESPN’s Jemele Hill, Detroit Red Wings’ goalie Jimmy Howard and Detroit Lions’ quarterbacks Matthew Stafford and Dan Orlovsky.
Most of all, Block Out Cancer has been supported by you, our employees. And just as the fight against childhood cancer is never over, our efforts to Block Out Cancer continue as well. If you’d like to contribute to this incredible campaign, you can do so on the Block Out Cancer website.
“We may cheer for different teams in the stands, but we are on the same side in the fight against childhood cancer,” Opipari said. “When we work together, we can make a difference for so many children and families affected by this devastating disease.”