Huggins, Zereoue autographed bears to be auctioned

Proceeds to benefit Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. – Two autographed Monti Bears will be auctioned Monday night during the live radio broadcast of Statewide Sportsline with Tony Caridi. Proceeds of the auction will be donated to the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment at the West Virginia University Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center.

The cancer endowment is named for Norma Mae Huggins, mother of WVU Basketball Coach Bob Huggins. She died of cancer in 2003.

The auction will feature a large Monti bear signed by former WVU running back Amos Zereoue and a Baby Monti bear signed by Coach Huggins. The Friends of WVUH Gift Shop donated the bears.

Monti, a 25-inch stuffed bear signed by Zereoue, is adorned with a coonskin cap, buckskin-like scarf and WVU trademark logo. Baby Monti, signed by Coach Huggins, is a smaller, 18-inch version of Monti.

Monti bears

Nicknamed Monti after the West Virginia motto, “Montani Semper Liberi – Mountaineers are always free,” the bear comes with a hangtag explaining a brief history of the WVU Mountaineer Mascot.

“It reminds me of me – huggable, loveable and strong,” Zereoue said. He added:

“I am humbled by the opportunity to affiliate myself with such a noteworthy cause and even more appreciative that it’s happening at WVU. WVU has a place in my heart – great memories, great friends, great fans. I consider WVU an extension of my family.”

Zereoue, also known to WVU fans as “Famous Amos,” played for WVU from 1996 to 1998 when the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him. He then played for the Oakland Raiders and the New England Patriots. He now owns a West African-centric bistro in Manhattan.

The fund that memorializes Norma Mae Huggins supports basic and clinical research on colon cancer.  William Armistead, director of Cancer Center development, said, “Coach Huggins remains active in raising funds for Mary Babb Randolph Cancer Center research efforts and is recognized within the coaching profession as a leading advocate for cancer awareness issues.”

Opening bids will begin at $100. The highest bidder will win both of the Monti bears, plus photographs of Huggins and Zereoue with their autographed bears. To make a bid, call 800-765-8255 during the show from 7:06 p.m. until 8:50 p.m.
Not only will the auction benefit the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment, but also $10 from every large-sized Monti bear purchased will go toward to the fund.

A new Monti bear, Hug-A-Bear, will be available this fall. Hug-A-Bear is the third in the Monti series. In honor of Coach Huggins, Hug-A-Bear will be wearing a suit and will be holding a basketball. Proceeds will also benefit the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment.

Anyone interested in contributing to the Norma Mae Huggins Cancer Research Endowment may do so by contacting the Cancer Center at 304-293-8604 or mailing their contribution to P.O. Box 9300, MBRCC, Morgantown, W.Va. 26506.

For more information about Friends of WVU Hospital see http://www.health.wvu.edu/hospitals/gift-shop/index.aspx or shop for gifts at www.wvuhgift.com.



For more information:
Amy Johns, HSC News Service, 304-293-7087
EL: 02-12-09

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