WVU and Pitt to Help Fight Against Cancer

Penny Wars campaign will raise money for cancer centers

West Virginia University and the University of Pittsburgh are turning their football rivalry into friendly competition as the two schools tackle cancer, a disease that claims more than half-a-million lives every year.  From October 20 to November 16, WVU and Pitt will engage in Penny Wars to see which school collects more loose change for its cancer center. 

WVU’s collection will go to the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center Comfort Fund.  The Fund provides cancer patients with short-term financial assistance for medication, gasoline and lodging expenses.  Pitt will give its collection to the Hillman Cancer Center for lung and thoracic cancer research.

Kathleen Murphy, R.N., manager of the Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center clinic, came up with the idea for Penny Wars.

“I remember reading about a little girl who used proceeds from her lemonade stand to help homeless people,” Murphy said.  “And it inspired me to try to make a difference too.  I thought we could do something that would benefit cancer patients.”

Large collection bins will be placed around WVU, including at the Mountainlair and at the Health Sciences Center cafeteria, bookstore and valet parking entrance.  Collection bins will also be set up at area businesses, including Boston Beanery restaurants, Texas Roadhouse, and the WVGameDay.com store.  Donations will be accepted at Huntington Bank’s Suncrest and High Street locations.  Huntington Bank is the event’s official sponsor.

West Virginia University President Mike Garrison and Mountaineer Mascot Brady Campbell are featured in television and radio public service announcements for the Penny Wars campaign. 

Their messages urging fans to dig deep into pockets and purses and check the sofa for spare change will air on the scoreboard at the WVU vs. Mississippi State football game on Oct. 20.

Local television stations WBOY-TV12, WDTV-TV5, West Virginia Radio Corporation stations, and Time-Warner Cable are donating airtime for the campaign.

“We’re getting tremendous support for Penny Wars,” said Lora Edgell, committee co-chair.  “Sororities, fraternities, and the Colleges Against Cancer Chapter at WVU want to help.  South Middle school, our partner in education, plans to challenge all middle and high schools throughout Monongalia County to compete against each other to raise money for Penny Wars.”

WVU has not set a goal for Penny Wars. 

“I believe we will be pleasantly surprised at how much money we raise”, said Murphy.  “Pennies are money too and they do add up.  Every penny counts.”

The winner of the competition will be announced at the WVU vs. Pitt football game December 1 at Mountaineer Field and will receive a traveling trophy. 

- WVU -

For more information:
Sherry Stoneking, Cancer Center, (304) 293-4599
sls/khw: 10-19-07

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