(Cushing, Okla.)  Students at Cushing High School are joining other students from across the state in the fight against cancer.  They are participating in Win-Win Week, a statewide initiative aimed at preventing cancer and raising funds to support Oklahoma cancer patients.

            The goal of Win-Win Week is to use every high school athletic event during the week of Sept. 16 – 20, as a way of heightening cancer awareness.  Win-Win Week is a program coordinated by the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center and the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.  OSSAA will present a state championship trophy to a school in each classification that has the most effective program.

            This is the fourth year for the Win-Win Week program.  In the past three years, 150 schools officially participated (many all three years), and students have raised more than $500,000 to provide important support programs for Oklahoma cancer patients.

            “Every community in Oklahoma has been affected by cancer.  We remain encouraged by the passion and commitment from our state’s young people as they take part in the fight against cancer,” said Robert S. Mannel, M.D., director of the Cancer Center.  “We are looking forward to seeing firsthand the creative ways that students will communicate this important information to their schools and communities.”

Helping reduce the burden of cancer in Oklahoma, which kills 7,500 Oklahomans every year, is important, local students say. Win-Win Week is a service-learning program that engages student leaders from a variety of student groups, including the Pink Soldiers. The Pink Soldiers are student leaders representing multiple organizations (Football, Softball, Chorus, Band, NHS, FFA, and Student Council) at Cushing High School; organized by MJ HendersonSmith who wanted to give student leaders an opportunity to serve their school, community.

            Approximately half of all cancer deaths can be prevented by not using tobacco, eating a more healthy diet and exercising regularly, according to Mannel.  Local students will be working to share information about preventing cancer through awareness events that include a Friday night “Pink Out.”  Everyone attending the football game Friday evening is encouraged to wear pink.

            Funds raised during Win-Win Week will stay in Oklahoma to provide important support programs for patients treated at the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center, said Mannel.  To raise funds, students will pass donation boxes at the football and softball games, and have a week of activities at the high school.  Pink Soldiers are currently selling t-shirts for the football Pink Out.  To purchase a t-shirt, go to Cushing Schools’ web page for instructions: https://chs.cushing.k12.ok.us/

            “We treat patients from every county in Oklahoma, and many require a wide range of support services,” Mannel said.  “Funds raised by our students will go a long way to provide services to patients and their families as they fight this disease.”

            Established after the Oklahoma Legislature in 2001 called on the University of Oklahoma to assume statewide leadership in cancer prevention, research, treatment and education, the Cancer Center is working toward National Cancer Institute designation as a “comprehensive cancer center,” the gold standard of cancer research and treatment.

            More than 150 Ph.D.-level researchers are working to develop better treatment options for cancer, and the Cancer Center represents one of the largest oncology physician groups in the state.  A new, 210,000 square-foot clinical facility opened in Oklahoma City in 2011 at the OU Health Sciences Center.

            For more information regarding Win-Win Week, visit www.OKStudentsCare.org.  For more information regarding the Peggy and Charles Stephenson Cancer Center, visit www.OklahomaCancerCenter.org.