Learn from the Pros: Hosting a Cancer Awareness Game - NFCR


Learn from the Pros: Hosting a Cancer Awareness Game

Maybe it’s because you recently learned of a loved one’s cancer diagnosis. Maybe you’ve recently lost someone, or maybe you just feel like you could be doing more. No matter the motivation, there are plenty of reasons to get involved by hosting a cancer awareness game.

Lynnfield field hockey cancer awareness game

Each year, teams all across the country at all levels of play will host cancer awareness games to raise funds and advocate for the importance of supporting cancer research. Not only do these games help power vital cancer research, but also serve as a reminder that, together, we can make a difference.

Below, we look at examples from what professional teams— and some Play4TheCure teams— have done to make their cancer awareness game not only successful but impactful as well. Hopefully, these examples will inspire your team to get involved or elevate your efforts to the next level.


First, determine what cause is important to you, your team and community. Then create your event around important dates related to that cause.  September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Throughout the month, Major League Soccer hosts Kick Childhood Cancer. During this time, proceeds from the cancer awareness apparel line benefit one unified organization.

Additionally, on the MLS website, they share childhood cancer facts that stress the importance of providing support. They also link to an online donation page, providing fans with multiple outlets to give back.

Childhood Cancer Awareness Facts

Teams are then encouraged to volunteer locally at children’s hospitals, or with similar groups. Each team has a different way of contributing. The New England Revolution visited Boston Children’s hospital to participate in a lip-sync battle, based on the popular TV show.  In contrast, the Philadelphia Union invited childhood cancer survivors to one of their games, and honored them on the field. Once there, the Revolution players signed and gifted their cleats to the survivors.

Crucial Catch

In 2017, the National Football League switched their annual Pink October to Crucial Catch to include all types of cancer. This allowed particularly vocal NFL teams and players, such as Devon Still, to provide support for cancer types personal to them. Still’s 4-year-old daughter was diagnosed with neuroblastoma; a cancer that effects the nerve cells.

One way the NFL encouraged fans to give to their fundraisers was through their online pledge center. On PledgeIt, fans can find players from different teams and pledge a dollar amount per ‘crucial catch’ or reception.

Make your Cancer Awareness Game special

People respond to unique approaches to fundraising. The Lynnfield Field Hockey team in Massachusetts took a spin on a popular fundraiser and made it their own by posting scarecrows in (understanding) neighbors yards instead of flamingoes for their “Scare Away Cancer” game.

Last, remember why you got involved in the first place. Carve out time at the game or event to either acknowledge or reflect on those in the community that have battled cancer.

Play4TheCure Teams in Action: Watch the Loyola Marymont University Softball team invited a team mom and breast cancer survivor out to throw the first pitch.


Dedicate a game to Play4TheCure

When you register to Play4TheCure, we send you a complimentary fundraising kit with the help of our friends at Longstreth Sports. Each kit includes a Play4theCure banner, wristbands, and other promotional materials to kick start your cancer awareness game planning.

For more ideas on hosting a cancer awareness game, visit our Pinterest page or download our Fundraising Playbook.