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McCafferys hold Coaches vs. Cancer event at Carver

Posted on 29. Oct, 2013 by in Iowa Basketball

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By Brendan Stiles

HawkeyeDrive.com

IOWA CITY, Iowa — For both Fran and Margaret McCaffery, cancer is a disease that hits close to home. They watched as Fran’s mother and father both succumbed to colon cancer just nine years apart.

Last year, the McCafferys held a fundraiser at Hotel Vetro where they raised $52,000 for both the Hope Lodge in Iowa City and the Holden Comprehensive Cancer Center located on the UI campus. On Tuesday, this fundraiser officially became an annual event as members of the Iowa City community congregated toward the Feller Room at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to help the McCafferys in their crusade against cancer.

A diverse crowd made up the attendees on hand Tuesday evening. Members of Fran’s coaching staff, former Iowa basketball players, Iowa season-ticket holders, UI boosters, and locals alike all joined together to help the McCafferys in this cause.

“We’re just thrilled with the generosity that people have shown and the support that we’ve gotten for this,” Margaret said. “Unfortunately, cancer touches so many people, so when you mention the word, you can get a lot of people and spark their interest. But we’re just really excited. There’s a lot of people that were here last year, but it’s also a lot of new people and we couldn’t be more happy.”

Headlining the event was the family of Will Roling, a 7th grade boy from Cascade, Iowa who formed a connection with the McCafferys while fighting a battle with cancer that Fran said required him receiving 39 spinal taps and 54 chemo shots in both legs. The bond between the two families became so powerful that when the Hawkeyes played at Indiana last March, Will got to travel with the team to Bloomington, along with his dad and younger brother.

But it didn’t stop there. When Will had what his family called an “End of Chemo” party this past July, Fran made an appearance at the hospital to see him and members of his family — his parents, younger brother and grandparents. The timing worked perfectly for Fran, as Will’s party took place during the two days he was back home in between recruiting trips.

“That was an amazing thing to see the smiles on the faces of his family,” Fran said. “When you see that type of thing and you see what we’re doing actually makes a difference, you know, that’s what warms your heart.”

The majority of the organization for this event was formed by Margaret and a committee she helped assemble. This committee she oversees managed to line up numerous sponsors across Iowa City, all of whom volunteered their time to help make the fundraiser a reality for the second consecutive year.

“The university allowed us to bring in outside vendors, food and things like that,” Margaret said. “Every auction item is donated.”

Fran and Margaret both said their goal this year was to raise more than the $52,000 generated last year, a goal they both believed would be obtained. But there were other objectives for them on this night that went beyond receiving donations.

“Obviously, we’re trying to raise money to find a cure,” Fran said. “But in the meantime, we’re educating, you know, to make sure that you get a colonoscopy because colon cancer shouldn’t be a death sentence and it has been for so many people. It was for my parents. But if you get colonoscopies, you’ll probably die of something else and not colon cancer, even though you might be prone to having that type of cancer.

“There are so many ways we can effect change, not just with money.”

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