Saluki Athletics and Southern Illinois Healthcare (SIH) are once again teaming up for an event Footballscoop.com called “the best charity promotion in college football.” On Saturday, September 26, the SIU Saluki football team will once again wear commemorative black jerseys during Family Weekend at the Salukis Black Out Cancer game.
In the weeks leading up to game day, fans participate in online bidding for the namesake jerseys in honor of a friend or family member impacted by the deadly disease. It’s the fourth year proceeds from the jersey bidding will benefit the new SIH Cancer Institute, which opened earlier this year.
SIH Vice President of Community Affairs Woody Thorne credits former Saluki standout Mike McElroy for initiating the “Black Out Cancer” game at SIU.
“Mike’s vision, and the ongoing partnership between SIU Athletics and the SIH Foundation, has proven to create a lasting and significant benefit to cancer patients and the communities served by SIU and SIH across the region,” Thorne said.
The symbolism of strength and courage has been especially poignant for players over the years, as they’ve donned jerseys bearing the names of their own mothers and grandmothers, fathers and grandfathers, and other close friends and family. Southern Illinoisans battling the disease and SIU Alumni from across the country also join in on the bidding, where the top 80 bids are matched with the player of their choice.
The Salukis were the first college football team in the nation to develop and implement the “Black Out Cancer” game. To date, the event has raised nearly $132,000 for the SIH Cancer Institute.