Tennessee men’s basketball coach Bruce Pearl is digging into his wallet to solidify his stand against cancer. Pearl is so passionate about the OUTLIVE, Tennessee Fights to Beat Cancer program, he’s buying 3,000 OUTLIVE t-shirts for students attending the Jan. 31 Florida at Tennessee basketball game to wear during the planned “white-out.”
The “white-out” is intended to make a strong statement against cancer and about the importance of cancer prevention and early detection, in conjunction with the OUTLIVE program announced by Pearl earlier this month. Proceeds from the program further the cancer education, outreach and screening programs at The University of Tennessee Medical Center Cancer Institute.
“The students have been so supportive of the Vols this year and they’ve really shown their appreciation for the OUTLIVE program,” said Pearl. “I know all of our fans will come out strong to cheer us on and encourage a win against the Gators. I just want to make sure the students all have a chance to show their support for OUTLIVE with the t-shirts. Cancer has impacted the Vols on a personal level and that sea of white shirts will mean a lot to us and make a strong statement against cancer.”
Two cases of cancer among the team’s “family” helped inspire the OUTLIVE program. Former Tennessee star Chris Lofton announced after the 2007-2008 season that he had battled and beaten testicular cancer. The father of Vol forward Tyler Smith lost his battle with cancer last year.
To raise awareness of the importance of cancer prevention and early detection screenings, coach Pearl urges everyone going to Saturday’s nationally televised game against Florida to wear white, preferably OUTLIVE, shirts and create a “white-out” at Thompson-Boling Arena.
For fans needing their shirts in time for the game, OUTLIVE t-shirts are available at either Tennessee Traditions location (Turkey Creek or at the Stokely Athletic Center on the UT Campus). Shirts also will be sold at the game and at the UT Medical Center gift shop. Shirts will be sold online at www.UTsports.com (click on the OUTLIVE link) through Feb. 3. For more information about OUTLIVE or to make a donation to cancer education, outreach and screening programs, call the UT Medical Center Office of Development at (865) 305-6611.
The University of Tennessee Medical Center is a 581-bed, not-for-profit academic medical center, which serves as a referral center for Eastern Tennessee, Southeast Kentucky and Western North Carolina. The Medical Center, the region’s only Level I Trauma Center, is one of the largest employers in Knoxville. For more information about the University of Tennessee Medical Center, visit online at www.utmedicalcenter.org.