AUBURN ARENA – The nurse asked me to roll up my sleeve, she quickly spotted her target spot, gave me a dash of rubbing alcohol with a cotton swab, eased the needle in without even a pinch, and that was that – I was tested for prostate cancer.
The only person to get tested Saturday ahead of me? Voice of the Auburn Tigers’ Andy Burcham, who quickly took the first seat so he could go join Auburn Coach Bruce Pearl for their routine pre-game interview.
Saturday’s Auburn-Kentucky basketball game was also the annual AUTLIVE Cancer game of the season for Pearl’s public service campaign to prevent cancer with early testing for detection, and with T-shirt sales to raise money in support of families in the fight against the disease.
All men over the age of 40 attending the game could get a free PSA test for prostate cancer at the tables set up near the First Aid room. The test involves providing a small blood sample, and the folks conducting the tests from Urology Centers of Alabama are pros.
Around 100 men answered the challenge, medical personnel said.
It was Pearl himself who came up with the idea to have on-site testing, after having developed a close relationship between the Bruce Pearl Family Foundation and the Mike Slive Foundation, which sponsored similar efforts to fight cancer earlier this year during a Birmingham-hosted weekend of games.
“Both Coach Pearl’s Foundation and the Mike Slive Foundation for Prostate Cancer Research are dedicated to help fight cancer,” said Anna Slive Harwood, the daughter of the Slive foundation’s namesake. “What does that mean? For the Mike Slive Foundation, we want do two things: Our mission is to help save lives by funding cutting-edge research and raising awareness of prostate cancer.
“When my father, Mike Slive, lent his name to this Foundation, he wanted us to become a national presence in the fight against prostate cancer,” she said. “My father wanted to use his story to help educate men and their families so no other man would have to go through all that he went through in his battle with prostate cancer.
“Coach Pearl has been an incredible champion for the Mike Slive Foundation since our inception in September 2017,” Harwood said. “He recognizes, as did my father, that he has a platform to help educate and influence men of all ages about prostate cancer and the importance of early detection.
“We are so grateful for Coach Pearl and the Auburn family for their continued support in our efforts to help end prostate cancer.
“But there is hope. When caught early, the five-year survival rate for men with prostate cancer is nearly 100 percent. With early detection and research, we can save lives.”
Pearl’s AUTLIVE game also featured the sale of special T-shirts for $25 each. The shirts were sold out hours before game time, but donations can be made at autlive.com, said Tammy Jackson, spokeswoman for the Pearl foundation.
Jason Biddy, CEO of Urology Centers of Alabama, said his organization was grateful to be part of the AUTLIVE effort and provide the free testing at the game.
We’re “proud to partner with the Mike Slive Foundation and the Bruce Pearl Family Foundation in their fight against cancer. We know 1-in-9 men will diagnosed with prostate cancer in their lifetime and being at events like the AUTLIVE basketball game allows us the opportunity to bring awareness, education and screening to the community,” Biddy said.
“We want men to feel more open about their health and family health history,” he said. “To have Coach Pearl as an advocate in the fight against all cancers is a win for everyone.
“Coach Pearl and The Bruce Pearl Family Foundation allows multiple organizations to bring the message that if cancer is detected early it can be treated and even cured.”
Troy Turner is editor of the Opelika-Auburn News and can be contacted at email@example.com or followed on Twitter @troyturnernews.