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Playitforward

“Help Tackle Pediatric Cancer” Football Fundraiser on September 19 Benefits “Play Fit-Stay Fit!” Program

The Seawolves football home opener on Saturday, September 19, at 6:00 pm against Brown is more than a kick off to the season. A portion of each ticket sold will benefit the Sunrise Fund, which promotes awareness about childhood cancer and raises funds for several special initiatives at SBUMC and its Pediatric Oncology Program. The game will also provide many pediatric oncology patients their first opportunity to watch their favorite Stony Brook student-athletes in action.

Proceeds from this year’s game will support “Play Fit-Stay Fit!,” a comprehensive wellness program for children who have survived cancer and their families. Children who survive cancer are often left with numerous physical, emotional, social, and cognitive concerns. In addition, the lives of their parents and siblings are often dramatically affected as well.

“PlayFit-Stay Fit!” provides physical activity, nutritional education, and psychosocial counseling in a fun, friendly group environment for these children and their families. Services are provided by physical therapists, exercise physiologists, nutritionists, and social workers. The Sunrise Fund-supported program is free of charge.

Seawolves football player Josh Auerbach with Adrian Jones
Seawolves football player Josh Auerbach with Adrian Jones

“Play It Forward” Program Patients Will See Student-Athletes in Action

The game will also provide many pediatric oncology patients with their first opportunity to watch their heroes in action. The “Play It Forward” program was created this past spring to enrich the lives of children who come to Stony Brook’s Cancer Center for treatment.

Student-athletes from the football team volunteer to visit the Cancer Center on a weekly basis. Athletes and patients interact, talk, and play on days when the child is receiving treatment. These encounters help ease the burden of treatment for the children and their parents and provide the student-athletes with a strong sense of giving back. The student-athletes are encouraged to continue contact with the children in an effort to foster friendships and build a sense of team.

Arranging this program was a collaborative effort. Assistant Football Coach Greg Toop was inspired when the pediatric oncology patients attended a game last year. He wanted his football players to visit the children when they were receiving medical treatment. Sharing his idea with Debbie Giugliano, nurse practitioner for the unit, she thought of the perfect name, “Play It Forward,” and developed the training and guidelines with her colleagues. The program is supervised by professionals from the Division of Pediatric Hematology and Oncology, the Cancer Center, Child Life, Play Fit-Stay Fit!, and Athletics.

Complimentary tickets for this special day are available to the patients and their families. Please send all requests to info@playfitstayfit.org. Tickets for all others can be purchased online at www.goseawolves.org

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