CU Buffs Honors Cancer Patients with ‘Bigger Than Basketball’ Event – Colorado Daily
Decked out in gold, glittery makeup and new Colorado Buffaloes gear, Bethany Buchanan was ready for a well-deserved date Saturday afternoon with her husband.
For two hours at the CU Events Center, Buchanan proudly watched senior Buffaloes goalie Elijah Parquet and his teammates take on CSU Bakersfield.
âI hope Eli feels my energy and excitement and sends all the good vibes to her, like now and in the future,â she said.
On Saturday, CU honored Buchanan and 16 other cancer patients with a “Bigger Than Basketball” event. Each player wore the names of the winners on their backs, with Parquet representing Buchanan.
âI think for my family it probably touches my heart to see my last name on their jersey,â said Buchanan, 37. “It’s really cool to see someone representing me on the pitch doing these physical things that I can’t do.”
CU has teamed up with UCHealth for the “Bigger Than Basketball” initiative, designed to help raise awareness about the fight against cancer.
Head coach Tad Boyle said that in his many years in the sport he saw quite a few promotional events happening on his desk, but this one stood out.
âIt was like, ‘Why haven’t we been doing this for years?’â Said Boyle, who wore a purple cancer awareness pin. âIt meant so much. I thought it was so well marked – Bigger Than Basketball – because we all know how cancer has touched the lives of so many people over the years. Every family in one way or another has been touched by this.
Buchanan and her husband, who live in Morrison, are both CU alumni. They have two children, aged 3 and 4. When the youngest was just six months old, Buchanan was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, which means she will be on treatment for the rest of her life.
“Of course, we still have the hope that this will go away,” she said. “But, instead of calling myself a warrior or a patient or a survivor, I consider myself a prosperous.”
For Buchanan, part of being successful means going skiing this season, taking a family trip, making the most of his time with the kids. And, that meant enjoying a day with the Buffs.
âOne of my chemo nurses asked me if I would be interested in this several months ago, and I said, ‘Yeah! “I’m a Buff, I love sports, my husband loves basketball,” she said. “And I think one of the interesting things about it is the collaboration between UCHealth and CU Boulder.”
Buchanan and other patients met the Buffs via Zoom on Wednesday and shared their stories. This gave special meaning to the names on each of their jerseys.
âTo me that meant a lot,â said Buffs goaltender Keeshawn Barthelemy. âWhen we met on Zoom it really gave us a sense of how lucky we are to be here, to play ball and to be healthy. So it was just an honor to love their name and share their stories and the like.
Guard Nique Clifford added: âIt was just a blessing to be able to play and honor them and just show them our respect and pretty much give them hope to keep fighting. I think it was an honor and hope they enjoyed what we brought to the table tonight.
Buchanan and the other patients in attendance (some watched from a distance) enjoyed a pre-game reception with family and friends, took goody bags home, and then watched the game.
âIt’s just a really fun event,â Buchanan said. âA lot of cancer events are philanthropic, they’re fundraising, and they can feel a bit heavy. This is a chance for all of these families and cancer patients to come together and do something really fun.
âWe kind of pretend it’s like we’re young, wild, and cancer-free – like back in our CU days. I think it’s really cool that UCHealth and the Buffs are having this event to raise awareness.
Boyle hopes this is the first of many similar events for CU.
âWe were proud to represent them and their families and their struggle today,â he said. âBut it’s more than that. There are thousands of people battling cancer across the state, across the country. â¦ We (also) hope we had a day to represent UCHealth and healthcare workers and everything they’ve been through, certainly since the onset of COVID, but also those who work with and have worked with cancer patients. of cancer patients in the past 30, 40, 50 years.
âTo have the opportunity to fight on the basketball court and to bring their fight to the attention of the public and our fans is an honor. It’s an honor for our players.