With a start time of 6:30 a.m., I wasn’t too excited about going to this morning Coaches vs. Cancer event given that we’ll be working until midnight at Hoosier Hysteria and then get up early tomorrow to drive to East Lansing.
But I’m glad I went.
The breakfast drew about 200 people at $100 a head and apparently – get this – the people participating in an auction at the end have considerably more money than I do (which is really good news for the American Cancer Society).
An opportunity to be “Coach for a Game” with seats behind the IU bench went for $4,000 in the auction. A chance to play 18 holes of golf with Kelvin Sampson went for $2,500. Three people paid $1,000 each for basketballs autographed by Sampson. In all, seven items were auctioned for $10,500.
The event raised $49,000 to benefit cancer research, education and programs.
“We know by ourselves we cannot be the difference,” said Sampson, whose mother has survived a battle with colon cancer. “But when I look at all of you, we can say we are helping.”
The event grew emotional when Laura Dolby, wife of former IU basketball chaplain Galen Dolby, spoke to the audience in place of her husband who had planned to be there but died last week at 53 after a long battle with kidney cancer. Laura Dolby talked about her husband’s long-time love of IU basketball and the wonderful times he’d had as a fan and chaplain. She also talked about how he’d hoped to grow old with her, to see his oldest daughter get married and to watch his son graduate from college, but he won’t be around for any of those things because of cancer.
Former IU players Brian Evans and Dan Dakich told the crowd how much they admired the courage of Laura Dolby in sharing her husband’s story and of Jane Hoeppner who attended the breakfast and has been an inspiration to many with the strength in which she’s handled the loss of her husband Terry to cancer.
“Terry Hoeppner is no longer here. Galen Dolby is no longer here,” Sampson said. “But maybe we can save your or someone you love. That’s why we’re here.”
Sampson said IU’s Coaches vs. Cancer breakfast will become an annual event that will grow until it is the biggest such event at any university in the country. Since its inception in 1993, more than 500 coaches and their wives have raised nearly $40 million through the Coaches vs. Cancer program.