KNOXVILLE, Tenn (WVLT) -- Through the 2011 campaign of OUTLIVE: Tennessee Basketball Fights to Beat Cancer, the University of Tennessee is looking to take a giant stride toward the goal of raising at least $1 million in five years to directly benefit cancer patients treated at The University of Tennessee Medical Center Cancer Institute, UT men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl announced Monday.
Pearl’s announcement kicked off the 2011 OUTLIVE campaign, which culminates in a “white-out” with Vol fans wearing their OUTLIVE t-shirts and filling Thompson-Boling Arena with the unified message of fighting cancer during Tennessee’s Feb. 19 home game against Georgia (1 p.m. ET, CBS).
“Cancer is something that has affected every single one of us,” Pearl said. “It has affected my family. It certainly affected my Tennessee basketball family when Chris Lofton was diagnosed with testicular cancer. But for the work at The University of Tennessee Medical Center, his life was saved.”
Pearl initiated the OUTLIVE program in 2009 after former graduate manager Brooks Savage, along with the UT athletics department, created the concept in recognition of former Vols All-America Chris Lofton, who beat cancer through early diagnosis and treatment and went on to play the entire 2007-08 season while recovering from his battle with the disease. Inspired by Lofton’s story, OUTLIVE raises awareness of cancer prevention and early detection screenings while t-shirt sales and donations raise money to benefit cancer patients.
“Working with Coach Bruce Pearl and Tennessee basketball in 2010, the Cancer Institute at UT Medical Center and the OUTLIVE program reached more than 15,000 people in our community with education and prevention programs, which included cancer screenings,” said Dr. John L. Bell, Director of the UT Medical Center Cancer Institute. “Prevention and early detection remain the foundation for long term survival. Without programs and research funded by the OUTLIVE partnership, we would not be able to continue our mission of education, research and patient care. I am grateful to everyone for their support.”
Fans can help Tennessee and UT Medical Center fight cancer by purchasing an OUTLIVE t-shirt or by donating to OUTLIVE. T-shirts are available at www.UToutlive.org or at participating Walgreen’s, Food City and Tennessee Official Team Shop (UT Bookstore) locations as well as at UT men’s and women’s home basketball games. Short-sleeve tees cost $20, and long-sleeve tees cost $22. Adult and child sizes are available. For more information about OUTLIVE or to donate, call the UT Medical Center Office of Development at (865) 305-6611.
“From this day forward, up until the time we take the floor against Georgia on Feb. 19, we’ll have those white OUTLIVE t-shirts on sale all over the community,” Pearl said. “Whether you’re planning on going to the game or not, please know the purchase of that t-shirt is going to make a huge difference.
“Anytime I see anybody in the community with an OUTLIVE t-shirt on, I go out of my way to thank them. It’s your way of saying quietly that you’re a Tennessee Volunteer and that you support this tremendous cause.”
Pearl is calling on UT fans to make a strong statement in the fight against cancer by wearing their OUTLIVE shirts to the Feb. 19 Georgia game. The coach hopes all the OUTLIVE shirts will create a stunning vision, creating a “white-out” effect during the game and showing the commitment of Tennessee fans toward advancing cancer treatment and research. Now beginning its third year, the OUTLIVE: Tennessee Basketball Fights to Beat Cancer effort has raised more than $240,000 to benefit cancer care on behalf of patients and their families at The Cancer Institute at UT Medical Center.
“We’re going to raise money to fight cancer, but OUTLIVE is about so much more than that,” Pearl said. “We’re going to build one of the finest Cancer Institutes in the Southeastern part of the country at UT Medical Center so we can better serve this community and save more lives.”
The Cancer Institute at The University of Tennessee Medical Center serves as the region’s only comprehensive cancer service to meets its patients’ needs in one location. Approximately 1,800 new cases of cancer are diagnosed and treated at UT Medical Center’s Cancer Institute every year and the doctors, nurses and specialists see more than 50,000 annual patient visits. The Cancer Institute participates in a wide array of cancer clinical trials and is involved in basic science, translational and clinical research to find a cure.
The mission of The University of Tennessee Medical Center is to serve through healing, education and discovery. UT Medical Center, a 581-bed, not-for-profit academic medical center, serves as a referral center for Eastern Tennessee, Southeast Kentucky and Western North Carolina. The medical center, the region’s only Level I Trauma Center, is one of the largest employers in Knoxville. For more information about the University of Tennessee Medical Center, visit online at www.utmedicalcenter.org.