Once a year, athletes and entertainers from all over the country join together for one reason. That reason is the Athletes vs. Cancer Allstar Weekend. Athletes vs. Cancer was founded by former Clipper Matt Barnes, and is a non-profit organization that “provides comprehensive resources, support, and advocacy for families and survivors affected by cancer across all populations.” Athletes, celebrities, and influencers come together in hopes of funding cancer research, education, and outreach. The mission is to promote early detection, with the ultimate goal of preventing cancer.
I spent the entire weekend covering the event, hearing stories from celebrities across different realms. Despite coming from different backgrounds, each individual had a commonality: everyone had a relative affected by cancer. Matt Barnes lost his mother to cancer, Russell Peters lost his father to cancer, and Snoop Dogg’s daughter battled cancer when she was only 11 years old. I myself lost my grandmother to cancer, and was never able to meet her. Despite this disease taking away so much, it has managed to bring people together with the hopes of defeating it.
For Matt Barnes, his mother’s battle against cancer is what caused him to create this event. He lost his mother in only 26 days, as she was diagnosed four cancers all in stage 4 on November 1 and died November 27.
The speed of her cancer’s growth is what inspired Barnes to fund and promote early detection. As the years have progressed, so have Barnes’ goals towards battling the disease. He wants his organization to be a light at the end of the tunnel, to pay for surgery, pills, and hospice. The main goal is to make a difference.
Snoop Dogg became so inspired by Barnes’ passion that he went from a participant, to an organizer.
“In the beginning I was just a participant as a player, but then I wanted to join hands with him because I lost one of my family to the same disease,” Snoop said.
Snoops’ presence is more than felt now that he’s an organizer. He hosted the first event on Thursday, titled SmokeACure. He brought in a crowd that included the likes of legendary pro boxer, Mike Tyson. The event raised $50,000, and all of the proceeds of Smoke4ACure went to funding medical cannabis research
In this weekend it doesn’t matter what realm a celebrity comes from, the only thing that matters is providing awareness to fund cancer.
“If I can lend as little celebrity as I have to the event, I’m more than willing to do that,” comedian Russell Peters said. “It’s about getting the right people together who will be able to hopefully financially make a difference in the future.”
Each year, Athletes vs. Cancer grows exponentially. The event has gone from a two-day weekend, to a three-day weekend, and now a four-day weekend. The road to victory against cancer is an arduous one, but this event guarantees it won’t be a lonely one. There’s something to be said when someone sees their heroes passionately fight for a cause that relates to everyone. It’s inspiring, infectious, and promotes positivity across all boundaries. There is no medicine like hope, and that’s what this event brings.