August 08, 2012 - The finishing touches are being put into place as the Clarkston gridiron heroes prepare to put on their baby blue and pink jerseys for the fourth annual Football for a Cure this Saturday, 7 p.m.
Football players take on cancer during their pre-season scrimmage. File photo (click for larger version)
The proceeds of the event benefit McLaren Breast Cancer and McLaren Cancer Institute in Clarkston.
"It has helped quite a few patients," said Deanna Hart from McLaren Cancer Institute. "It has helped patients get to their treatments, particularly patients coming for radiation. They are here from 6-8 weeks, five days a week."
She added a majority of their patients are from the Pontiac area and are uninsured and unemployed with no means to get to the center for their treatments.
"This year's proceeds will continue to go towards transportation," said Hart. "It is an ongoing issue. It is a barrier that gets recognized early on. A lot of the patients who are not insured tend to wait until the last minut or wait until they are in the emergency room and get diagnosed with cancer. It is the pattern we are seeing."
Hart and a social worker make an assessment on the patients to see what they need.
"We help them get the resources to make this journey of theirs a smoother transition," she said. "Not having to worry about the funds for transportation is so appreciated by them."
She added the patients would ignore the cancer and wouldn't get treatment if they didn't have the transportation.
This year's Football for a Cure includes speakers Bonnie Acosta, a cancer survivor who was treated at McLaren Breast Center, and Dr. Stephen Franklin, a radiation oncologist at the center.
"It's a great deal," added Kurt Richardson, head coach for the Clarkston Wolves Varsity Football team. "We are trying to add some things to it. It's going to be bigger and better."
Richardson added the community can help in a number of different ways - by attending the game, buying a T-shirt or buying jersey in memory of someone.
"We are looking forward to all of it," said Hart. "It will be another good event. The football team and Kurt have been amazing and supportive. We can't thank them enough."
Pink and blue T-shirts are already being spotted through the community since the football players began selling them at Concerts in the Park.
"It's nice people can give back and there is great support in the community," said Richardson. "That's why Clarkston is special."
"The community has been so supportive the last few years," Hart added. "I think with the passing with our young man, Ryan Kennedy, people just know there is a need out there. They step up to the plate and help wherever is needed. We are all touched by cancer. None of us are untouched by it unfortunately. When I see T-shirts and people purchasing hats to support the caust I know there are still people in the world that want to help."
McLaren Cancer Center will host their second annual Cancer Survivor Celebration party for their patients and the community from 5-6:30 p.m.
Hart added they will have tailgate food, snack and beverages and anyone interested can RSVP by calling 248-922-6603.
After the celebration everyone will move over to Clarkston High School stadium for the boys pre-scrimmage football game, set to begin at 7 p.m.
T-shirts are available for $10 and bracelets are available for $1 each during the event. More items are available online at www.customthreadsandsports.com/clarkston. For information or to volunteer, email ClarkstonFootballforaCure@gmail.com.
Wendi graduated from the University of Michigan-Flint with a degree in communications. She wrote for the Michigan Times college paper and Grand Blanc View before joining The Clarkston News in October 2007.