Coach Corsaro Raises Cancer Awareness with UIndy-branded Sneakers

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The American Cancer Society recently had their Suits and Sneakers week as a part of the Coaches vs. Cancer program. From Jan. 22 through 28, basketball coaches from around the country wore sneakers with their suits on the sideline of their basketball games. According to The American Cancer Society website, Suits and Sneakers week is a nationwide event where basketball coaches unite for the common cause of ending cancer. They do this by having the coaches wear the most eye-catching sneakers in order to raise awareness and promote cancer screening. According to The American Cancer Society website, Coaches vs. Cancer is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) that originated in 1993.

Strategic Director for Coaches vs. Cancer at the American Cancer Society Amy Rohrer said this year they are celebrating 30 years of Coaches vs. Cancer. Something special about the event is that school’s are taking Suits and Sneakers week and going further with it. They are having events such as ‘pink-outs’(where participants are encouraged to all wear pink clothing and accessories) to show support for cancer awareness, according to Rohrer.

UIndy Head Men’s Basketball Coach Paul Corsaro said he participates every year with especially personal ties to the cause. At 15 years old, Corsaro was diagnosed with cancer. Corsaro said that fortunately he was able to catch it early, he said he felt very lucky that it was isolated and no additional chemotherapy or treatment was needed.

“I’ve dealt with this on a personal instance and now I’m gonna take part in raising awareness for it,” Corsaro said. “I mean when you go through something like that, obviously, it hits home a little bit more, I think, than it would for someone who hasn’t. That was a really important time in my life. Fortunately, I’m still here today, and it’s something I’ll never forget.” 

Rohrer said Corsaro does a good job of utilizing his voice to talk to people about cancer and getting screened. She said coaches that support Coaches vs. Cancer are also supporting the American Cancer Society’s efforts across the Country such as Hope Lodge, screening, research and road to recovery.

“And what he [Corsaro] is doing is taking his story and telling others that encourages them to get screened,” Rohrer said. “Go to talk to a doctor, especially if you have high risk, and get screened. Take care of yourself, listen to your body—that’s his message. He is utilizing his platform as a Division II basketball coach and telling people, ‘Hey, don’t be scared of the doctor, go get screened.’ And that’s what we really, really appreciate about Coach Corsaro.”

The sneakers Corsaro chose to wear for Suits and Sneakers week are a pair of custom shoes given to him by a friend. His custom shoes can be seen in an article by WISH-TV

“What makes my situation more unique is just the fact that I have UIndy-branded sneakers that were given to me as a gift,” Corsaro said. “Given to me as a gift by a friend for my wedding, and I thought they would be really good for this week each year. I just kinda made them my Coaches vs. Cancer sneakers every year.”

Rohrer said the event feels like Christmas morning when she checks to see what cool sneakers all of the coaches are wearing. She said during Suits with Sneakers week, she watches a lot of college basketball games.

“But what really warms my heart is seeing, I got so many pictures of youth teams, like third, fourth graders where their coaches wore a suit and sneakers,” Rohrer said. “So I love seeing that it’s impacting not only the Division I level schools, but Division II, Division III, youth basketball. Everybody’s having fun with it and really spreading the message that cancer screening saves lives, and that’s my favorite part.”

According to the Coaches vs. Cancer Playbook, coaches can record a short video detailing who they suit up for. They can also engage the student-athletes and fans and create custom sneakers that are significant to them. This event is unique because it’s for the basketball community as a whole, Rohrer said. 

“That’s what makes Suits and Sneakers so special,” said Rohrer, “Seeing coaches across the country who are rivals on the court, but coming together for that one cause and celebrating through a really snazzy cool pair of sneakers. Those who  want to take part and get involved can go to The American Cancer Society’s website and view their Coaches vs. Cancer Playbook. Their website features resources for youth involvement, Coaches vs. Cancer Council, Suits and Sneakers and more. If someone wants to reach out to the American Cancer Society for help, their toll-free number is 1-800-227-2345. Lastly, the American Cancer Society has a donation link set up in honor of Coaches vs. Cancer’s 30th year on their website.

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