For the first time ever, a professional sports team will share information with its fans about one of the nation’s fastest increasing and deadliest cancer diagnoses.
In a “slam dunk” move, ECAN (Esophageal Cancer Action Network) will partner with the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers to raise awareness about esophageal cancer.
Staples Center will host “Los Angeles Clippers- Esophageal Cancer Awareness Night,” Thursday, Apr. 3, during a Western Conference matchup against the Dallas Mavericks. Game time is at 7:30 p.m.
ECAN’s message about the critical link between heartburn and cancer will air on the stadium’s Jumbotron and be broadcast through the Public Address system, sharing a life-saving message with the anticipated sellout crowd of 19,000.
Additionally, ECAN and its event sponsors, Covidien and Torax Medical, Inc., will provide important materials to fans at various locations on the lower concourse.
“For those of us who have been fighting esophageal cancer for years, getting the spotlight for the first time ever at a professional sporting event is groundbreaking,“ said ECAN President and CEO Mindy Mintz Mordecai, who founded the national non-profit organization after losing her husband and the father of their two young daughters to the disease in 2008. ”And for the fans who may not know that heartburn can cause cancer, it could be life-saving.”
ECAN has purchased a group of 430 tickets in the middle upper concourse level where supporters can sit and cheer together. Tickets are available at a discounted rate of $27 for ECAN supporters and can be purchased through a special link which waives the service charges: www.clippers.com/ECAN.
A portion of the proceeds will be donated to ECAN, plus the ECAN ticket purchasers will have access to watch pregame warm-ups – before doors open to the public – and receive a special gift.
“The Los Angeles Clippers are proud to partner with organizations like ECAN that strive to positively impact our fans and our community,” said Lauren Kimball, group events coordinator with the Clippers. “It is important that we use our platform to create awareness for programs that promote health and wellness.”
The event’s inspiration came from ECAN volunteer, Megan Yost, a 29-year-old Mar Vista resident. Her father, Don Yost (68), suffered with reflux disease for many years and began having trouble swallowing in 2011. The Eureka, Ca. resident was diagnosed with esophageal cancer in January 2012.
Following five weeks of chemotherapy and radiation, Don underwent a successful esophagectomy. Since then, he has slowly regained his strength, gotten back into the swing of life.
“I wanted to make a difference with bringing awareness to the public about esophageal cancer, which is why, I chose to get involved with ECAN,” Megan Yost said. “Living in one of the largest cities in the United States, I figured this is a great place to start and the Clippers game would be an ideal platform for spreading this important message to such a large audience.”Los Angeles Clippers ECAN Awareness Night launches ECAN’s Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month activities all across the nation. ECAN initiated Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month in 2009, and has increased its efforts to raise awareness about this devastating disease every April since.
The following special events will raise awareness about the link between heartburn and cancer and raise funds to support ECAN's work throughout the country:
▪ Apr. 5 – Cancer Dancer gala in Baltimore, MD. Bogie & Bacall's son, Stephen Bogart, will be special guest, as ECAN celebrates its partnership with the estate of film legend Humphrey Bogart, who died of Esophageal Cancer, in 1957. Stephen Bogart, who hosts a Florida TV show about the movies, has taped ECAN public service announcements to encourage early detection and raise awareness about the link between heartburn and cancer (http://youtu.be/jnVqvOtl6Wg).
▪ Apr. 4-5 – El Tour de Mesa cycling race and fun ride in Mesa, AZ. ECAN Volunteer Lisa Hunemuller arranged for ECAN’s involvement in this event. Her husband, Denis, lost his battle with esophageal cancer after 15 months and it’s her desire to “help others learn about the causes and symptoms of this devastating disease and to work with ECAN to help fight for screenings and spreading awareness.”
▪ Apr. 11-12
- Taking Steps to Save Lives -
An Esophageal Cancer Awareness Weekend in Walnut Creek, CA.
Six Bay Area medical practices joined together with ECAN to bring to light the critical link between need for education about reflux disease, Barrett’s Esophagus and esophageal cancer, its causes, prevention and the urgent need to provide appropriate screening for those at risk. The event includes a Friday evening health seminar and Saturday morning 5K.
▪ Apr. 26 & 27 – Henry’s Hope Verrazano Festival of Races - 5K, 10K and Half Marathon in Brooklyn, NY. The event is named after Henry Rodriguez, a talented artist and loving husband when who died from of esophageal cancer at age 52. This vibrant New Yorker exercised regularly, ate a healthy diet and never smoked. But for the last five years of his life, he chewed antacids every morning to alleviate his persistent heartburn, which he found out too late can cause cancer a particularly deadly cancer that few survive. It was Henry’s hope that his story would save others from the unimaginable pain he endured for the eight months he lived after his diagnosis and the pain his wife, Rubini Salva, will live with for the rest of her life.
▪ Library Partnerships throughout April to share ECAN's life-saving message with library patrons through materials, literature and live informational events in Colorado, Connecticut, Texas and elsewhere.
ECAN also will assist its volunteers in every state as they petition their governors to issue declarations that April is Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month in those states. To extend the reach of the message, ECAN will send free Reach Out kits with with posters, brochures and periwinkle blue wristbands saying, “Heartburn Can Cause Cancer” so they can be posted in heavily traveled areas like hospitals, churches/synagogues, offices and restaurants.
Esophageal Cancer & ECAN
▪ One American dies of esophageal cancer every 36 minutes.
▪ Diagnoses of the disease are up more than up more than 400 percent in the past 20 years.
▪ The type of esophageal cancer increasing so rapidly in the United States is usually caused by heartburn.
ECAN’s mission is to save lives by increasing awareness about the link between heartburn and cancer, promoting early detection and supporting medical innovation to prevent, detect and treat esophageal cancer. The Baltimore-based national non-profit organization is led by a board of directors of top physicians, business leaders and families that have been touched by esophageal cancer.
Through ECAN’s efforts, April has been formally designated as Esophageal Cancer Awareness Month across the United States. ECAN also published an innovative Guide for Patients with input from leading doctors across the nation, and it successfully advocated with the National Cancer Institute to include Esophageal Cancer in its groundbreaking genome mapping project known as The Cancer Genome Atlas. For more information, visit www.ecan.org.