There’s a young man in South Carolina whose day job is going to school and playing guard for the Clemson Tigers basketball team. But in his spare time he’s some how managed to start and run a foundation that supports young cancer survivors.
Maybe even more surprising is that Tanner Smith, now a sophomore on the team, began Tanner’s Totes back when he was a 12-year-old. When he was younger, he lived through watching his father, now cancer free, struggle with non-Hodgkin’s Lymphona. You do not live so close to a cancer patient and not be affected yourself. Tanner took his pain, his ordeal and turned it into a vow to help other children who had to deal with this.
Today his nonprofit hands out goody bags that long-term cancer patients in South Carolina and Georgia can keep with them during their months of treatment. The bags are filled with journals and pencils, CDs and disposable cameras, socks and blankets and lots of little things to remind these kids that someone is thinking about them.
“At first I wasn’t sure it would matter,” Tanner told an ESPN.com reporter in 2009. “I mean, what can colored pencils and modeling clay do? But we can’t cure cancer right now. There isn’t a medicine or a shot or a test that helps you cure it or prevent it. At least we can help somebody get through it.”
The totes do make a difference, and to date, with the help of Tanner’s parents and many volunteers, they have been delivered to 1,500 patients in 30 hospitals.
To find out more information about Tanner Smith’s foundation, check out the website:
Hit for Haiti Tennis Exhibition Raises $1M … Last Friday, tennis greats Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal partnered with retired legends Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras in a charity exhibition match that raised more than $1M for earthquake victims in Haiti. It was great to see Agassi, who played in his warm up sweats, and Sampras on the court again. All four players wore mics and the 17,000 in attendance got an earful as Agassi and Sampras traded what some are calling unnecessary insults during the first part of the match.
Not to be undone by testosterone, Steffi Graf, Martina Navratilova, and Lindsay Davenport joined current women’s player Justine Henin in a second doubles match.
Net proceeds from ticket sales will be donated to the American Red Cross. Earlier in the year at the Australian Open, a similar event raised more than $600,000.
And here’s a piece of old news I came across while doing some background research. On Feb. 28, a group called Uplifting Athletes held its annual Rare Disease Day. The goal is to unite people affected by rare diseases by raising awareness. Millions of people around the world observed Rare Diseases Day to focus on rare diseases and how they affect patients’ lives and their family and friends. Rare diseases are chronic, progressive, debilitating, severe and often life-threatening. Information is scarce and research is insufficient. Uplifting Athletes is a nonprofit run by football student athletes. They’ve got chapters at Penn State, Ohio State, Maryland, Boston College and Colgate. We missed this one, but their next event will be the Coaches vs. Cancer 5k on April 17, 2010.
How you can get in the game:
At Hit for Haiti 2, you can watch the men’s doubles match and can still make a donation online or by text.
Uplifting Athletes has information on any of the school sites to sign up for the April 17th 5K.