The 2015-16 men's basketball season tips off this weekend, with more than the usual wins and losses on the minds of four North Coast Athletic Conference and Ohio Atheltic Conference squads.
The newly-created NCAC/OAC Challenge features Otterbein University and Capital University from the OAC and Ohio Wesleyan University and Wittenberg University from the NCAC. Capital and Wittenberg will play at 5 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 14, in Otterbein’s Rike Center, with the host Cardinals taking on Ohio Wesleyan at 7 p.m. the same day. The event resumes at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 17, at Wittenberg’s Pam Evans Smith Arena, with Capital and OWU matching up first and Otterbein playing the host Tigers in the nightcap.
The NCAC/OAC Challenge has taken on an additional purpose. It will also serve as an awareness event for leukemia as all four schools rally around Capital head coach Damon Goodwin, who was recently diagnosed with hairy cell leukemia, a rare but highly treatable cancer of the blood. Goodwin has since taken a leave of absence and is expected to return once healthy.
Together, the universities plan to raise critical funds for The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS) to show support as Goodwin enters treatment. Flat donations will be collected, wristbands with the inscription "No one fights alone" will be sold for $5, and all ticket sales from both sites will be donated to the cause. In addition, fans will see players from all four teams wearing orange leukemia awareness t-shirts instead of their traditional pre-game attire.
Fans are encouraged to help launch the 2015-16 basketball season while also contributing to funding therapies, treatments and saving lives. LLS's continued advancements over the years are responsible for the blood cancer survival rate doubling, tripling and, in some cases, even quadrupling. In addition to blood cancer, LLS supported therapies are now helping patients with other forms of cancer.
All donations, which are tax deductible, go on to support LLS research, patient services, advocacy, public and professional education and community services. Fans can donate through the online event page in honor of Coach Goodwin, and can visit lls.org for more information about the voluntary health organization.