COLLEGE PARK, Md. – The University of Maryland and Maryland men’s basketball head coach Mark Turgeon hosted the Coaches vs. Cancer Season Tip-Off Breakfast Tuesday morning in conjunction with the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches.
The Coaches vs. Cancer program was created in 1993 by the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. The program exists to leverage the strength, community leadership and celebrity of our country’s basketball coaches to fight cancer.
Joining Turgeon as speakers were Dr. Ray Lenhard, Professor Emeritus of the Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, Dr. Kevin J. Cullen, director of the UMD Marlene and Stewart Greenebaum Cancer Center and Kelsey Dimka, co-chairman of Relay for Life at Maryland.
Lenhard credited both coaches and student-athletes for their ability to positively influence young people affected by cancer and other illnesses.
“Coaches and student-athletes are often role models for young people,” Lenhard said. “It’s a whole different perspective when you hear positive words of encouragement from someone associated in athletics.”
A senior set to graduate in May with a degree in English literature, Dimka is a bone cancer survivor who chose to attack the fight against cancer with her participation in Relay for Life on the campus of Maryland.
“I always wanted to go to Maryland and my experience here has reinforced how much I love the school and my work with the American Cancer Society,” Dimka said. “I came to Maryland to start a new chapter in my life and I have gotten so much support from the community through Relay for Life.
“I have gained a stronger understanding of cancer. It is not a burden, it is an experience. There are so many unsung heroes in the fight against cancer who work tireless hours and help others to fight through very difficult times.”
Turgeon was happy to engage in the program as cancer has affected multiple people in his life, including two managers.
“We are here to support this program because we all know someone who has dealt with the fight against cancer,” Turgeon said. “It is important to keep a positive outlook as we battle this disease.”
The Coaches vs. Cancer breakfast at the University of Maryland was started in 2002 by Gary Dando, who worked with former head coach Gary Williams. Since its inception 11 years ago, over $400,000 has been raised for the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer program.
The event was MC'd by Maryland men’s basketball color analyst Chris Knoche.