T-shirt sales, prayer bracelets and local eateries offer help
Contributed by Troy Turner
For the Bruce Pearl Family Foundation
Auburn basketball’s AUTLIVE Cancer 2021 campaign is, for the families who depend on it, more than just another health-news headline, cool T-shirt sale or feel-good public service campaign. It is the difference between sleeping in a car or bed, eating a full meal or having enough gas to get to the hospital for a child’s surgery.
Auburn Coach Bruce Pearl realizes the crowd will be slim Saturday (Feb. 27) for this year’s AUTLIVE game because of limitations attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic, despite playing nationally ranked SEC rival Tennessee. But that’s why Pearl, who created AUTLIVE, says this year he is counting on supporters in the cancer fight to be more vigilant than ever in helping AUTLIVE assist Alabama families in need.
T-shirts and prayer bracelets are available online now at autlive.com, and Pearl will be visiting several local restaurants during the week to share thanks to them and their customers for support of AUTLIVE.
“This goes to help children, moms and dads right here in our own backyards, families that already are having a tough enough time with cancer,” Pearl said. “The AUTLIVE fundraiser uses every bit of the money raised to help these families. It might buy gas; it might pay for a night’s accommodations or it might provide a meal or two for families who simply don’t have the money to get these things when they go to get treatment. It’s a way to help and to let them know they’re not fighting it alone.”
AUTLIVE also is an awareness campaign, for which Pearl begs anyone who will lend an ear to get tested and have routine medical exams to prevent cancer or detect it in its earliest stages.
This year’s AUTLIVE game is set for Saturday (Feb. 27) 11 a.m. at Auburn Arena against the No. 19 ranked Volunteers. The host Tigers will be seeking a sixth consecutive win against Tennessee, having won five straight that included an upset win in the 2019 SEC tournament on Auburn’s way to its first Final Four appearance.
Pearl coached at Tennessee before coming to Auburn, and while there started a similar fight against cancer that he dedicated to one of his players.
The AUTLIVE 2021 T-shirts are on sale for $25 each, online at autlive.com.
Also, this year special prayer bracelets are available for a $20 donation. Donors also can buy a bundle package that includes a T-shirt and a set of two bracelets for $40.
Auburn assistant coach Chad Prewett and his daughter Madison, of The Bachelor television fame, came up with the idea for the bracelets.
“Madi got in with the bracelet company and, after the show, started the Prew Crew bracelet line. Then we wanted one for the Auburn Family,” he said, pointing out that the AUTLIVE bracelets include a matching set of two and are dedicated to prayer support for those fighting cancer.
“The whole premise was, ‘I am standing with you in prayer. I have one, you have one; let’s stand together,’” Prewett said. “It is to make sure no one feels alone.”
Furthermore, he said, “every dime we make off of it goes to AUTLIVE.”
Pearl said the same about the other fundraising sales. Because AUTLIVE is operated through his Bruce Pearl Family Foundation, there are no administrative costs involved in getting donations to where they need to go, as the foundation and AUTLIVE are supported by volunteers.
Private donors also are contributing, Pearl said, as the goal each year is to raise and distribute $100,000 to families battling cancer.
“People know we can’t raise as much money at the game this year because of the lower attendance, so we have many donors just writing checks,” he said, with donations so far ranging from $10 to $10,000.
“We’re going to need more checks,” Pearl added.
Donations can be made on the autlive.com website.
Additionally, Pearl and his wife, Brandy, personally purchase a large allotment of T-shirts each year and give to students attending the game. This year, the couple is buying and giving away 1,400 shirts.
Local eateries in Auburn also are joining the effort.
The following restaurants are partnering with Auburn Athletics to donate a percentage of their sales to
AUTLIVE on the following days:
Monday 2/22, Baumhower’s (Auburn)
Tuesday 2/23, Newk’s (Auburn/Opelika)
Wednesday 2/24, Which Wich (Auburn/Opelika)
Thursday 2/25, Momma G’s (Auburn/Opelika)
Friday 2/26, Full Moon (Opelika)
Saturday 2/27, Zoner’s & Moe’s Original BBQ (Auburn)
Pearl says he plans to visit each restaurant at some point on the dedicated dates to say thanks in person to the businesses and their customers who support AUTLIVE.
The agencies receiving the funding and administering the selection process for recipients include: East Alabama Medical Center, Russell Medical Foundation, Smile-A-Mile, Coosa Valley Medical Center, Children’s of Alabama, Joy to Life, aTeam Ministries, Cancer Wellness Foundation and Russell Hill.
“If you would, help us, by purchasing this T-shirt and/or the prayer bracelet,” Pearl said.
“This bracelet is actually an AUTLIVE together-in-prayer bracelet,” he said, “for a future that is cancer-free. No one fights alone.”