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Utah’s Red-White game about more than football on Saturday

NCAA Football: Rice-Eccles Stadium Views Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

This year’s Red-White game is not just about football. The University of Utah is using the game to help raise awareness about pediatric cancer.

Cancer has plagued numerous children in Utah.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there were 1,984 pediatric cancer cases in Utah from 2003-2014. The most common cancers were solid tumors.

The UofU is encouraging fans who show up to the Red-White game on Saturday to incorporate gold into their attire. The Utes will wear helmet decals promoting pediatric cancer awareness and the coaches will wear a patch on their shirts. Five hundred t-shirts and silicon bracelets bearing the logo will be distributed at the gates. The Redzone Campus Store will round up sales at the game and dedicate the proceeds to pediatric cancer research and pediatric cancer patients will be honored.

The University will also be raising awareness about the Hayes Tough Foundation. The foundation was created by former Ute safety Steve Tate and his wife Savannah. They lost their son Hayes to pediatric brain cancer in December 2016.

“As a former captain at Utah, I’m extremely honored and blessed to be a part of a university that truly cares for their students and student athletes. They have given me this voice and leadership skills that has allowed us to grow our foundation. Being a part of The Red and White game is something special, not only for our foundation and us, but for the kids they are honoring,” Steve Tate told BlockU.com.

Tate said the Hayes Foundation was formed in hopes of helping other families battling childhood cancer.

“Whether it is financial or emotionally, we aim to support and love these kids and their families. We have learned that pediatric cancer literally affects the entire family. It rips kids and families of their independence. Many families spend years away from each other and parents are forced to be away from the other siblings as they attend the needs of the sick child. My wife was overnight at the hospital for 150 days while I tried to fill the needs of our other kids. Families need support, whether it is financial support with bills, meals, transportation costs, or even providing a much-needed vacation. We hope to alleviate some of that stress through our foundation. We are currently visiting a foundation in Europe that provides housing for families recovering from bone marrow transplants. We are also helping a family here with some medical costs,” Tate said.

Tate says with help from the University of Utah and the rest of the community, he and his wife have been able to “spread Hayes’ footprint” in areas they never imagined.

The Red-White game is Saturday, April 13that 11:00 a.m. at Rice-Eccles Stadium.