Finding a Cure One Touchdown at a Time

College Football Teams Up To Raise Money

The AutoNation Cure Bowl is touching down in Orlando on Dec. 16, and the game’s organizers expect to raise $1.15 million for breast cancer research, some of which is happening right here in Central Florida. In the past two years, this college football event has raised $2.3 million for the Breast Cancer Research Fund.

Alan Gooch, executive director for the Orlando Sports Foundation, has been involved with the Cure Bowl since its inception. He currently manages a team of board members as well as media connections and community sponsors for the event.

When ESPN first showed interest in bringing another bowl game to Orlando, Gooch reached out to the community to see what was needed. “Some of those individuals that we started working with early on had family members that were just diagnosed with breast cancer,” he says.

Sadly, some of the founding members were diagnosed with breast cancer around the same time. After seeing the significant affects that breast cancer has on the community, Gooch and his team decided that the game’s charity partner would be the Breast Cancer Research Fund. This charity has become a big focus of the event.

Real Money, Real Research

Proceeds from the game are donated and each funding dollar is given to individual researchers in the form of grants. “Our community, as well as anyone that is touched by the devastation of cancer, is positively affected with the research dollars that we raise for researchers like Dr. Annette Khaled,” Gooch says.

Khaled is a researcher at the University of Central Florida College of Medicine. She uses the funds raised at the game to conduct research into limiting the movement of cancer cells within the body.  

Gooch and his team have worked to bring the community together through the Cure Bowl. Companies and individuals get involved by donating funds and time. Then, at the event, fans are encouraged to visit the Cure Village to receive a mammogram and meet with breast cancer experts.

“You can’t do this alone,” he say. “It takes an army of people to raise money for a cause. Obviously, it also takes a lot of community partners just to pull off an event this size.”

Gooch played on the UCF football team as defensive back in 1981. His love for football has guided him on his journey of helping others.

“Knowing that others will have a chance to survive with the knowledge and research is what is humbling,” Gooch says. “Seeing the smiles on the survivor’s faces that’s the thing that is very humbling.”

The AutoNation Cure Bowl will kick off on Dec. 16 at 2:30 p.m. at Camping World Stadium. It will also be televised nationwide on CBS Sports Network.


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Written by Christina Diaz

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