Morningside College has designated its home football game against Briar Cliff University on Oct. 26 as “Let’s Pack the House and Together Beat Cancer.”
The event is in honor of Austin Granatowicz, a linebacker on the Mustangs’ football team, who returned to the playing field this season while he successfully battles leukemia. Granatowicz, a junior from Firth, Neb., was diagnosed with Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML) on Sept. 25, 2012.
The event is being organized by the Morningside College Athletic Department, the Sioux City Branch Office of the American Cancer Society, and the Granatowicz family. All proceeds from a variety of fundraising endeavors in conjunction with the event will be donated to the American Cancer Society.
Orange wrist bands, t-shirts, and hats can be purchased at the Morningside Athletic Offices in the Hindman Hobbs Center (3501 Peters Ave.), at the Mustangs’ home football and volleyball contests, or online at www.55wontbebeat.com.
Raffle tickets, priced at $2 or three for $5, are on sale at the Hindman Hobbs Center, at Mustang home football and volleyball contests, and at the Briar Cliff Student Development Office located in the Stark Student Center. Raffle prizes include two tickets to this year’s University of Nebraska vs. University of Iowa football game on Nov. 29 in Lincoln, Neb.; two tickets to the Nov. 14 Brad Paisley concert in Omaha, Neb.; an autographed football signed by Chuck Pagano, the head coach of the Indianapolis Colts who was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia last fall; and autographed footballs signed by the Morningside and Briar Cliff football teams. Persons must be present in order to win at the raffle drawing, which will take place at the Oct. 26 football game.
The Sioux City Chick-fil-A restaurants on Sergeant Road and Southern Hills Mall will hold a Spirit Night on Thursday, Oct. 24, between 5 and 8 p.m., where a portion of their sales will be donated to the American Cancer Society in honor of Granatowicz.
In addition to its fund raising efforts, Morningside has invited Siouxland children who are fighting cancer and their families to attend this year’s Morningside/Briar Cliff game free of charge.
A representative from the American Cancer Society will be in attendance at the Oct. 26 football game to speak at halftime. Fans in attendance are encouraged to wear orange, the color associated with leukemia awareness.
Granatowicz discovered he had CML last September after blood tests were done because of injuries that weren’t healing properly. CML is an uncommon type of cancer of the white blood cells that leads to an abnormal growth of white blood cells that multiply uncontrollably and crowd out all the other types of necessary blood cells.
When first diagnosed, 100 percent of Granatowicz’s blood cells contained the protein causing his CML. Today, less than one percent of his blood cells contain the protein. Granatowicz was given medical clearance to play football earlier this summer, allowing him to return to a Morningside team that played in last year’s Russell Athletic-NAIA Football National Championship Game and is currently ranked No. 1 in the nation in the NAIA.
After Granatowicz’s diagnosis last year, the Morningside football team and the college embraced his fight by holding “Fight Leukemia Day” in conjunction with last season’s home football game against Concordia University. Last year’s event raised over $2,000 for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. This year’s fund raising efforts will be donated to the American Cancer Society to target all forms of cancer.