Coach Hope asks community to 'Boiler up and beat cancer!'

March 22, 2010 

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Purdue University football Coach Danny Hope is asking the community to "Boiler up and beat cancer!" by participating in the third-annual Purdue Center for Cancer Research Challenge on April 17.

Hope, entering his second season as the Boilermakers' head football coach, will serve as spokesperson for this year's event, aimed at raising awareness and funds for the battle against cancer.

"Cancer is the second-leading cause of death in America," Hope said. "There were more than 31,000 new cancer cases in Indiana alone last year and almost one and a half million new cases across the nation. I am proud to support the dedicated researchers at Purdue who have accepted the challenge to find a cure, and I hope that everyone who has been touched by cancer will join me on April 17 at Ross-Ade Stadium. Together we can 'Boiler Up' and beat cancer."

The Challenge 5K run/walk, a 3.1-mile race, is open to the public and will begin at 8:30 a.m. It will start and finish at Ross-Ade Stadium. The registration fee is for students and for non-students. More information is available online at All proceeds benefit the Purdue Center for Cancer Research.

Purdue President France A. Córdova will speak at the event before participating in the race.

Timothy Ratliff, the Robert Wallace Miller Director of the Purdue Center for Cancer Research, has experienced the impact of cancer.

"As a new grandfather, I cherish the time with my granddaughter and think of the tragic loss of my father and father-in-law to cancer before my own children were born," Ratliff said. "More than 560,000 people will die of cancer this year. Earlier detection and more effective treatments are needed to keep cancer from cutting short peoples' lives and time with family and friends. Members of the center have committed their lives to trying to find new ways to detect and treat cancer, and funds from this race will support innovative research."

Ratliff also is pledging 0 for each of his grandchildren and encourages others to create their own donation challenge. For example, two participants have pledged for every person that beats them in the race.

The Danny Hope Community Participation Award enters its second year and goes to the community organization with the largest percentage of members taking part in the race. The Purdue Dance Team won the award in 2009.

The Cuonzo Martin Student Participation Award enters its third year and goes to the student organization with the largest percentage of members taking part in the race. The Purdue women's volleyball team, women's golf team, men's tennis team and men's basketball team tied to win the award in 2009.

The names of the organizations that win the awards are engraved on plaques kept at the Purdue Center for Cancer Research.

Both awards are sponsored by Puccini’s and Folletts Purdue Bookstore.

Puccini's, again this year, is offering a fundraiser day on April 6. Patrons must mention their support while paying, and 20 percent of the bill will be donated to the Purdue Center for Cancer Research or the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center and Olcott Center for Cancer Education. 

Greater Lafayette community member Paulette Moody is chairing the event this year. Proceeds will benefit the Purdue Center for Cancer Research, one of just seven National Cancer Institute-designated basic research facilities in the United States. The center, which was founded in 1978, attempts to help cancer patients by identifying new molecular targets and designing future agents and drugs for effectively detecting and treating cancer.

In addition, race proceeds fund the Purdue Center for Cancer Research Challenge Research Award, given to a center member based on the merit of their proposal. Julia Kirshner, assistant professor of biological sciences, won the award in 2009 for her work to build a model to test new treatments for drug-resistant cancer cells. The 2010 award recipient will be announced at the event.

There were 1,300 participants in the 2009 Challenge, which raised more than ,000 for cancer research.

Writer:  Elizabeth Gardner, 765-494-2081,

Sources: Coach Danny Hope
                  Timothy Ratliff, (765) 494-9129,
                  Elizabeth Steurer, (765) 494-1109,