By Darren Zancan

Cancer. Does that word offend you? Does it bother you? Does it sound like a nasty swear word that rolls off your tongue and makes you want to “earmuff” the first child you see so they can’t hear what you’re saying?

Cancer (and everything associated with it) sucks. Bottom line. And so does any other disease known to man.

I have seen so many professional athletes step up to the plate and fight for different causes. Millions of dollars have been raised to fight cancer, raise cancer awareness and find a cure.

Millions of dollars have been raised to fight other diseases.

What I would love to see is student-athletes do the same thing. Maybe even see the school team up with the athletes and raise money for an organization. It doesn’t have to be cancer-it can be anything. But we have the ultimate gift to do good for people who need it.

Think about it: Every time an Eastern wide receiver catches a touchdown pass, we donate $100. Every time the girls’ soccer team wins, we donate $50.

Every time the baseball team scores 10 runs, which happens a lot, we donate $100. For every walk, $25 or for every hit-by-pitch the school dishes out $10. Think about it, Eastern wins 10-7, but the real story is 23 Austin Peay batters hit-by-pitches and we raise $230. Ok, kidding on the last one. But if we take a pitch, then we donate.

Every time the women’s basketball team wins a game by 10 points or more, we donate $100.

We could break it down by individual attributes as well.

Home runs, tennis wins or aces in volleyball could count towards something.

We have enough talent and heart here at Eastern that something like this could be beneficial.

What I love about our athletes is that they don’t serve the purpose of being egotistical standouts who only play the sport to be recognized. They walk the halls with the rest of us, lucky enough to be good enough to play soccer or volleyball. They are ordinary students who care, and who have a passion. They say ‘hi’ to others and make a name for themselves in the classroom, as well.

Just like me, who is lucky enough to write. they’re lucky enough to play a sport.

But if we took all the student-athletes, all the sports and put an action plan together, something bigger than Eastern Kentucky University could take place.

The Ride to Conquer Cancer benefit is a 150-mile bike ride that starts in Lexington and ends in Louisville. People are training to ride in hopes of raising money.

We can just go out and play the game we love and fight for a good cause. We don’t have to train extra.

I’m not a walking advertisement or preaching to the public to do something just to fill space. I truly believe that as a community we can do something incredible for our school, our athletes, the student body and a world outside of Richmond some of us have never seen.

I’ll even donate the first $100.

We often hear the tragic and bad sports stories and never hear enough of the positive sports stories.

How cool would it be if athletes stood tall and fought for something they believed in and incorporated it into their game?

To top it all off, at the end of the year say we raise $50,000, the school and athletic department could take $10,000 of it and create an annual scholarship for one student-athlete who has dealt with a medical condition or a family member that dealt with a situation. It is a positive reward.

Most of us wear bracelets. I wear a bracelet that supports pancreatic cancer and honors my dad. I also wear a Livestrong bracelet. I see several athletes wear them as well. So they stand for something. Why not stand together and do something?

Now we can all stand together, fight, win some games along the way and do something bigger and better than just score a touchdown.

As a student body we have strength in numbers.