Video: Facebook Live - Touchdowns Against Cancer
Crossing the goal line. Reaching the promised land. Pay dirt.
These are phrases for scoring a touchdown, the ultimate goal in America's most popular sport, football.
Besting the beast. Slaying the dragon. Remission.
These are colloquiums and the official term for beating the world's No. 1 medical adversary, cancer.
Late last spring, MaxPreps Founder and President Andy Beal conceptualized a dream to empower high school football players and coaches for the betterment of children inflicted with the dreaded disease. Joining forces with PLEDGE IT, the leading online sports fundraising platform, Beal laid out his plans to the public today, challenging teams across the country to raise funds for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital through a new annual program, Touchdowns Against Cancer.
"Every team has a player, parent, coach or classmate affected by cancer," Beal said. "We are proud to partner with PLEDGE IT and the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital to bring high school football teams and fans together nationwide to fight childhood cancer."
The first-of-its-kind national program will ask teams to launch PLEDGE IT campaigns online, enabling their fans to pledge donations for every touchdown scored from Sept. 15 to Oct. 1, which coincides with Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
Beginning today, varsity high school football coaches can enroll their teams through their MaxPreps coach administration pages.
Before the campaign officially started, three coaches — Kirk Downing at
Academy at the Lakes (Land O' Lakes, Fla.)
, Tony Allen of St. Mary's (O'Neill, Neb.)
and John Newman of Bishop Grimes (East Syracuse, N.Y.)
— already clicked the yellow button on their coach's page to help benefit the lifesaving mission of St. Jude.
"That's what we need — coaches taking initiative," MaxPreps Senior Director John Stockett said. "These guys deserve a shout out."
More than 170,000 children across the globe are diagnosed annually with cancer and with more than 60,000 are touchdowns scored on average every Friday throughout the country. The potential for aid to the cause is enormous.
"We are excited to see the philanthropic efforts of teens across the country as they support St. Jude patients, kids just like themselves, who are battling childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases," said Richard Shadyac Jr., President and CEO of ALSAC, the fundraising and awareness organization for St. Jude Children's Research Hospital.
Donations, Shadyac said, help to "push the search for cures and ensure that no family receives a bill for anything, but can focus on helping their child live."
Scott Shirley, the founder and CEO of PLEDGE IT, said teaming with MaxPreps and the high school football community is a perfect mesh to battle childhood cancer.
"We believe in the power of sport for social good," he said.
That's largely why Beal, a former prep basketball coach whose three sons thrived in high school athletics, entertained the notion originally. He believes in the power of sports, teens, communities and coaches. The latter really need to get the ball rolling, or spiraling in this case, with their campaigns.
"MaxPreps supports the role high school sports play in unifying local communities and teaching teens important life lessons through sports," Beal said.
What greater lesson can be learned than to help a young person through cancer? Or even help to save a life?
Beal encourages every fan, parent, athletic director and player to encourage their coach to click on that yellow button on their MaxPreps coach page. Then let the pledges and touchdowns begin.
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