Going outside the normal rotation of playing a different school in the eight-team WIAC conference every year, Wisconsin’s exhibition against UW-Platteville will match Gard against his brother Jeff (the head coach of the Pioneers) and serve as a Brain Cancer Awareness game.
The game on Oct.30 will be played on the one-year anniversary of the passing of Glen Gard, Greg and Jeff’s father, who died of glioblastoma multiforme (GBM).
“As you come to the anniversary of it, there’s a lot of hurdles emotionally you try to get over,” Gard said. “One of the things I’ve always heard from other people who have gone through it, who have lost a loved one, the one-year anniversaries, the two-year anniversaries can always be a little bit trying, If you have something positive around that to maybe refocus, remember some good times, this is how this came about.”
In partnership with the UW Carbone Cancer Center, the event will be a celebration of the doctors and researchers working at UW-Madison striving to find a cure. The game will also serve to recognize those who fight or have fought bravely and valiantly against this disease and the community impacted by cancer and the support they provide in this fight.
Both coaching staffs and team personnel will wear lapel pins with the Brain Cancer Awareness Game logo and a Gard family photo appears on the special, commemorative game ticket. Fans in attendance will receive a grey, “Brain Cancer Awareness Game” wristband upon entry.
“Rather than us sitting around and being sorrowful on that day, moping around, shedding tears, which there still will be some shed," Gard said, "to do something positive, help other people, bring awareness to this ... to help in any way possible, that was really the root of what our dad was about anyway of helping others.”
UW Carbone Cancer Center physicians see approximately 400 patients every year with brain and central nervous system tumors. Nearly 78,000 new cases of primary brain tumors are expected to be diagnosed this year and there are nearly 700,000 people in the U.S. living with a primary brain and central nervous system tumors.
The UW Carbone Cancer Center is recognized throughout the Midwest and the nation as one of the leading innovators in cancer research, quality patient care and active community involvement. UW Carbone Cancer Center is the only comprehensive cancer center in Wisconsin, as designated by the National Cancer Institute.
“Using the stage we’re going to be on to make an impact, that’s what dad was all about, trying to better someone else’s life,” Jeff Gard said. “Even to this day, that’s what he’s still all about. This is an opportunity for us to take a stage to help others, to show others that there’s a support system out there for them and continue to bring awareness to not only brain tumor, but all the other types of cancer that are out there that are impacting people.”