Setting and achieving goals has become a habit for Bruce Pearl, even when it comes to charity work.
So the Tennessee men's basketball coach has come up with another avenue - traveled by motorcycles - to raise money and awareness for the OUTLIVE program.
Pearl and his wife, Brandy, will host the OUTLIVE: Tennessee Fights to Beat Cancer Motorcycle Ride at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson on Saturday.
"I pledged to raise $1 million for OUTLIVE over five years, and through two years we've raised $275,000,'' Bruce Pearl said. "This is another way to create awareness, and hopefully we'll have a couple of hundred riders and raise some money for the Cancer Institute at the University of Tennessee Medical Center.''
Pearl said he got the idea from friends Jeff and Rita Roth. Rita is a cancer survivor who was treated at UT Medical Center.
"Anybody hearing about the ride will be encouraged to get screenings; get their prostate checked, get a colonoscopy or go to the dermatologist to get checked for skin cancer,'' Pearl said. "We know with early detection your chances for survival are so much greater.''
The funding is obviously important, as well.
"We're trying to help UT create a cancer institute that's world class - it's already outstanding,'' he said. "The fight against cancer is something you just don't fix in one hospital visit. There are lots of treatment that need to take place. If they can take place here in our own community, the survival rate will be even better.''
Bruce and Brandy Pearl will hold an 11 a.m. brunch at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson on Saturday, where the ride will start at 2 p.m.
Pearl said the ride includes a stop at Pratt Pavilion, where UT men's basketball players will sign autographs.
Pearl was inspired to launch OUTLIVE in 2009 by former UT All-American Chris Lofton, who beat his testicular cancer with treatment at the UT Medical Center. For more information or to pre-register, go to www.outlive.org or call 865-305-6611.
Registration is also available the day of the ride at Smoky Mountain Harley-Davidson located at 1820 W. Lamar Alexander Parkway in Maryville.
Cost of the event is $55 for a single rider and $70 for a pair. The special brunch with the Pearls takes place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and will be limited to 100 people, with the VIP option costing $105 for a single rider and $170 for a pair.
All participants receive an OUTLIVE motorcycle T-shirt, a meal following the ride and a wristband for free admission into a live concern that evening at The Shed with Goose Creek Symphony.
Hoops For Hope: It won't be the first good works of August for Pearl. On Saturday he and the UT men's and women's basketball players took part in the third annual "Hoops for Hope."
The event was held to benefit families and children with Down syndrome.
"The gym was full at Farragut High School, where we had so many wonderful players and Downs children,'' Pearl said. "The experience does as much for our student athletes as the children. We know we're blessed to be at the University of Tennessee, and we consider ourselves fortunate for the support we receive.
"These kids need support just like our student athletes do.''
Pearl said he enjoyed watching the children make baskets, at times with the help of UT players like Brian Williams, who lifted them up for a dunk.
"There was an excitement there, for them and for us,'' Pearl said. "Seeing them run through a tunnel of players when their names were called ... the children were all so loving, and there were many hugs.''
Pearl said another OUTLIVE-related event coming up on Sept. 17, The Bruce Pearl Fore for the Children Golf Challenge at Gettysvue Country Club, has sold out.
"Money from that will go toward early detection of cancer in children, as well as for Camp Koinonia,'' Pearl said.
Pearl takes part in Camp Koinonia in April each year, which benefits East Tennessee children with disabilities.