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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Women’s basketball to hold reception for cancer survivors

Cecilia Alvarez

Arizona women’s basketball coach Niya Butts calls a play during Arizona’s 81-78 victory over Oregon on Jan. 25 in McKale Center. Butts and the Wildcats will honor cancer survivors by holding a “Still Standing” reception before Arizona plays Stanford on Sunday.

It was the social media wave of the summer in college athletics. More videos of coaches being doused with cold water in a charity effort to raise money for cancer would pop up every day.

One coach would nominate another, and if the recipient of the challenge didn’t partake in the plunge within 48 hours, he or she would have to donate $250.

The Cold Water Challenge, better known on Twitter as #Chillin4Charity, took hold of the entire college sports world. Everyone from Arizona men’s basketball coach Sean Miller to Louisiana State University football coach Les Miles joined in.

The charity event had raised over $65,000 for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund by summer’s end, and it all started with the Arizona women’s basketball coaching staff.

“It was a good thing,” Arizona coach Niya Butts said. “It was fun, and it raised awareness and raised some money.”

The challenge reached over 92 million people on Twitter and gained so much attention that ESPN ranked it among the top charitable movements in the sports world in 2014.

On Sunday, Butts and the women’s basketball team will commemorate the movement and honor cancer survivors by holding a “Still Standing” reception before the Wildcats take on Stanford.

The event, which will take place from 1-2 p.m. at Jim Click Hall of Champions next to McKale Center, leads into the UA’s “Pink Game” against the Stanford Cardinal at 3 p.m.

The reception will “recognize fans, family members and friends who have been impacted by cancer,” Arizona Athletics said in a press release.

The reception also holds a personal meaning for Butts.

“I lost my aunt last year to cancer, and obviously numerous folks I know have been affected by it,” Butts said. “It’s just a nasty, ugly disease, and we certainly need to do everything we can in terms of research to help fight cancer.”

While the $65,000 that the Cold Water Challenge raised will go a long way in research and promoting future awareness, Butts said she also feels that it’s important to recognize those “that have survived cancer are still with us.”

The Arizona women’s basketball site has a link for guests to reserve their spot.

In continuing the day’s theme, the first 500 fans in attendance will receive free pom poms and sneaker keychains.

“It’s certainly going to be a celebration,” Butts said, “so just come out and have a good time with us before the game.”


Follow Ezra Amacher on Twitter.

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