ANGELINA COUNTY, TX (KTRE) - Rain may have altered the school’s original plans, but Angelina College will move forward with its first Coaches vs. Cancer celebration in support of the American Cancer Society.
For more than 25 years, the Coaches vs. Cancer program, in collaboration with the National Association of Basketball Coaches, has united coaches and fans nationwide to help the American Cancer Society defeat a common enemy – cancer.
A student-led initiative -- Angelina College Students Preparing Executing Acts of Kindness and Service, or ‘AC SPEAKS’ -- adopted the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative as part of their semester project that would benefit the campus and community.
“The Coaches vs. Cancer parade started whenever we were trying to figure out something to do for our athletic teams,” said Hugh Campbell, president of AC SPEAKS. “We were mulling around ideas and thought why not a parade? So, we put that together and then we found online that the American Cancer Association sponsors a Coaches vs. Cancer fundraising committee, so we decided to center our whole parade around the Coaches vs. Cancer association.”
The initiative leverages the personal experiences, community leadership, and professional excellence of basketball coaches nationwide to increase cancer awareness and promote healthy living through year-round awareness efforts, fundraising activities, and advocacy programs.
“Our police chief here on campus is a cancer survivor and he’s going to be involved in the parade,” Campbell explained. “We’ve also talked to a lot of different coaching or sports team facilities in the area, to see if they can get involved as well.”
Doug Conn, police chief at Angelina College, was diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2009.
“They found the cancer through a normal check-up here with my local doctor in Lufkin. From there, we were transferred to some wonderful surgeons up in the Arlington area with the University of Texas, and they took care of all the problems,” Conn said.
After hearing the campus would be throwing a parade honoring cancer survivors, as well as those who are battling the disease, Conn said he was moved to action.
“I felt very energetic and prompted to come and help with it,” Conn explained. “Because I’m a survivor and I can appreciate what those folks who are currently going through those type times are going through. So, I’ll try to help where I can any time I identify anybody that’s going through cancer issues.”
As for AC SPEAKS, Campbell said it made sense to choose the Coaches vs. Cancer organization because of all of the athletic programs the college is involved in. However, he added that everyone has either faced cancer themselves or knows someone who has, so any organization that’s willing to spread awareness about the subject is worthy of their attention. It was also a message Conn could get behind.
“The students here at AC are an amazing group of folks, they come out for all sorts of programs and they support a lot of different program here at the college,” said Conn.
A Coaches vs. Cancer parade that was originally scheduled in late February was delayed by rain, and will instead be held on Friday, March 22 at 6 p.m. on Angelina College campus.