Men’s basketball’s home opener will feature fundraiser for the American Cancer Society

By Jackson Gilbert

Oakland University is urging students and staff to attend the men’s basketball home opener on Wednesday, Nov. 19, to cheer for the Golden Grizzlies while supporting cancer research.

The game will double as a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society, and all attendees are encouraged to purchase a $3 button, with the Grizz bear logo and the words “Beat Cancer” surrounding it. Proceeds from the sales will go to the ACS.

The men’s basketball team has long supported cancer research, holding fundraisers in the past for the ACS at BD’s Mongolian Barbecue in Auburn Hills. Next week’s event, however, hits a little closer to home. 

One of the Oakland player’s relatives was diagnosed with cancer during the summer.

Lathrisha L. Mitchell, mother of Golden Grizzly junior forward Tommie McCune, died June 2.

Her obituary reads, “Our beloved daughter, mother, sister, aunt, cousin and friend went home to be with the Lord…”

She was 39 years old.    

In a promotional video for the event, Coach Greg Kampe talks about the disease hitting home and his decision to have a game dedicated to fighting cancer.

“We’re going to beat cancer, with your help that night, three dollars is all we’re going to ask for, 100 percent of the proceeds will go to the American Cancer Society,” Kampe said. “Let’s fill the O’rena and get every one of them to purchase these buttons.”

Kampe said Monday that an Oakland professor has already committed to purchasing $300 worth of buttons. He said he hopes that Oakland can raise more than $12,000 for the society. Kampe also mentioned that the team has plans down the road for more fundraisers but that he wasn’t ready to comment on what they were.

“We’ve all been touched by cancer, any time we’re trying to raise money for causes like this it’s important,” said Scott MacDonald, Oakland Senior Assistant Athletic Director. “This one really hits home because we’ve all been affected by it. My aunt, Julie MacDonald, passed away from breast cancer way too young.”

MacDonald says it’s always the goal to sell out the O’rena but that this game is particularly important due to their in-state opponent Western Michigan and the fundraiser.

The Grizz Gang is also in full preparation mode in hopes to have a fired up crowd for the home opener. Grizz Gang leaders are sending out tweets and including information about the buttons in their weekly newsletter.

“We’re pushing heavily for the $3 pins. We’ve circulated Kampe’s video,” Grizz Gang leader Brittany Hall said. “It’s important for us to support varsity sports but it’s even more important to support the ACS. It’s near and dear to all of our hearts and we are doing everything in our power to help raise as much money as possible.”

Oakland students receive free admission.