According to the all-knowing Google, it's 328 miles from the center of town in Boise City, in the western part of the Oklahoma Panhandle, to the Stephenson Cancer Center at the OU Health Sciences Center on the east side of downtown Oklahoma City.
But distance doesn't matter in Win-Win Week, which kicks off Monday across the state. The fourth-annual collaborative effort of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association and the Stephenson Cancer Center, Win-Win Week is used to showcase cancer awareness and prevention among high school students who use their athletic events for the cause.
The fall sports of football, volleyball, softball, cross country and fall baseball are used to promote cancer awareness and to raise money for the fight against cancer.
Sitting 328 miles away from the cancer patients it was helping, Boise City — a high school with an average daily attendance of 81.29 students — raised more money than any other Class B school participating in Win-Win Week last year to claim the state championship for the class.
But the impact of the event went even further. After the strong response to Win-Win Week, a local fund was established to help offset the costs of people in the area who have to travel long distances for treatment — perhaps the 328 miles to the Stephenson Cancer Center.
In addition to Boise City, seven other schools were named state champions last year: Canton (Class A), Mounds (2A), Lexington and Purcell (3A), Tecumseh (4A), Del City (5A) and Southmoore (6A).
All over the state this week and beyond, a broad array of events are planned at high school sporting events to signify the fight against cancer. Fundraisers will be held, and athletes will be seen wearing pink wristbands or socks or other accessories to promote the events for cancer awareness.
Just like last year, Oklahoma Heisman Trophy winners Jason White, Billy Sims and Steve Owens will present the state championship trophies during the football state title games Dec. 5 in Stillwater.
In the first three years of Win-Win Week — which actually extends well beyond seven days — 146 schools have participated, helping to raise more than $500,000 to help patients and family support programs at the Stephenson Center.
Each school that raises at least $10,000 in Win-Win Week is given the opportunity to have a room at the Stephenson Center named in its honor. Through the first three years, 25 rooms have been named for 18 schools: Ada, Bridge Creek, Cheyenne, Duncan, Edmond Santa Fe, Frederick, Heritage Hall, Kingfisher, McAlester, Norman, Okarche, Pawhuska, Purcell, Putnam City North, Southmoore, Tecumseh, Tuttle and Wilson.
Cancer prevention is an important component of the program that can't be forgotten, with the goal to educate students about how a healthy lifestyle (no tobacco, better diet, more exercise) can prevent cancer.
Cancer prevention information for students can be found on the program's website, www.OKStudentsCare.org.