North Carolina men’s basketball coach Roy Williams’ 12th Fast Break Against Cancer event on Monday, Oct. 3, raised more than $200,000 for the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center, and the total will continue to grow, thanks to an online auction that is running through Oct. 17.
The event was held on the first day of practice for the men’s basketball team and drew approximately 350 people to the Dean E. Smith Center for the breakfast, which included a silent auction, raffle and live auction.
In his opening comments, Williams underscored the importance of supporting cancer research and care at UNC Lineberger. “Every year, the money we raise gives the medical people, the scientists, and the people in the labs the opportunity … to keep working (against) this disease,” said Williams. “We do have a chance, we’re fighting all the time.”
Fast Break has raised more than $2.2 million for cancer research since it was founded. This year’s event includes an online auction, which runs through Monday, Oct. 17, 10 a.m. ET, and features 17 items, ranging from working out with UNC football coach Larry Fedora, to a dinner for six cooked at your home by Chef Jessie Scott of Annie Bells Catering, to a lacrosse helmet signed by 2016 UNC Men's NCAA championship team and a team jersey signed by coach Joe Breschi, to a night out in Chapel Hill, including a show, dinner at Crooks Corner and one-night’s stay at The Franklin Hotel.
Dick Baddour, former UNC athletics director, provided a moving keynote address. Baddour spoke about the principles that guided him and his family after his son David was diagnosed with cancer nearly two years ago. He spoke of the individual contributions of medical staff at the N.C. Cancer Hospital who provided care and assistance.
“With these physicians and this hospital, it’s not enough,” Baddour said. “We need your help. There is science to be discovered. There are cures to be developed. And the truth is, without this cancer hospital, without Lineberger, and without you, there would very well be no Dr. (Justin) Yopp, a Dr. (Ben) Calvo, and a Dr. (Hanna) Sanoff here for the people of North Carolina.”
H. Shelton “Shelley” Earp, MD, director of UNC Cancer Care and the Lineberger Professor of Cancer Research, spoke about the creativity and compassion that’s driving the people at UNC Lineberger to work toward better care and treatment of cancer.
“The brain power that’s been assembled because of this university, because of its magnetism for terrific young people who come and stay here – they’re smart when they come, and they get smarter because they work together in teams,” Earp said. “They’re doing things that are literally science fiction-like.”
Earp added that the support of the state, and of the center’s individual supporters, were critical to UNC Lineberger and its mission. “We are doing things here because of the support of the state, because of the support of what you do for us,” he said.
Jones Angell, the radio play-by-play voice for UNC men’s basketball and football, served as the Fast Break emcee and auctioneer. Auction items included an opportunity for the five highest bidders to have lunch for two with Williams and his staff at the basketball office in the spring, a package trip to Las Vegas to watch the Tar Heels play the Kentucky Wildcats at the CBS Sports Classic Basketball Tournament, and two framed posters celebrating 100 years of Carolina basketball that were each signed by more than 100 former players.