Purdue coach helps lead run for cancer research

March 28, 2013  

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. — In his first public comments as head football coach, Darrell Hazell stressed that it will take everyone in the Purdue family to win championships.

A similar sentiment applies to finding a cure for cancer: The more people who support research initiatives, the better. 

So it is fitting that Hazell will serve as spokesman for the sixth-annual Purdue Challenge, a 5K run/walk on Saturday, April 13. All proceeds from this public event directly benefit the Purdue University Center for Cancer Research

"I was amazed to learn about the incredible work being done on our campus to rid the world of this dreadful disease," said Hazell, whose father died of prostate cancer. "With each passing day and each new development, we are getting closer to finding a cure, and I want to personally invite everyone in our community and beyond to take part in the Challenge and directly help in the ongoing research."

The 3.1-mile race, which starts and ends at Ross-Ade Stadium after winding its way through the north edge of campus, begins at 8:30 a.m. Hazell will signal the start by banging the "All-American" Marching Band's Big Bass Drum. The morning's festivities will wrap up with an awards ceremony after the race, followed by the Purdue football team's annual spring game at 1 p.m. and Spring Fest that afternoon.

 To participate in the Challenge, students may register for $20 and non-students for $25 until Monday (April 1).  After April 1, registration costs $30 for everyone. Online registration can be found at http://www.thepurduechallenge.com

The center also offers "Sleep-in for the Challenge" for those who can't participate that morning but still wish to contribute. This option allows participants to receive the same benefits as the racers without having to get up for the early start. 

New this year is the option for racers to share their experiences leading up to the race through a personalized website with photographs, videos and testimonials.

Individuals also can register as a fundraiser and have the option to create or join a team in competition. Awards will be given for the most money raised as an individual, community group, faculty/staff group and student group. Each award will include a plaque and pizza party at Puccini's. Individuals do not have to be signed up for the race to participate in the fundraiser.

More than 2,000 participants took part in last year's challenge, making it the largest 5K race in Tippecanoe County. Since its beginnings in 2008, the Challenge has raised more than $245,000 for cancer research. The proceeds are awarded annually to a Purdue researcher, selected through a competitive grant process, who presents the best new research project.

In addition to the race, the center is sponsoring free prostate cancer screenings in Indianapolis and South Bend as part of its Affecting Cancer Together program. The Indianapolis screenings are from 5-7 p.m. April 11 at The Haircutting Company on W. 71st Street. The South Bend screenings are from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Inspiration Barber Salon on 303 Chapin Street.

The ACT program launched in August 2011when barbershops in Indianapolis began partnering with the center to reduce the number of deaths from prostate cancer, with a target to diminish health disparities and inequities.   

The Purdue Center for Cancer Research is one of 67 National Cancer Institute-designated research centers in the United States. The center, founded in 1978, attempts to help cancer patients by identifying new molecular targets and designing future agents and drugs for effectively detecting and treating cancer.

Writer: Morgan Stephens, 765-490-4855, MorganLStephens@gmail.com

Sources: Julie Hendon, 765-494-1109, Julieh@purdue.edu

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