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Orlando Sports Foundation AutoNation Cure Bowl

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Bringing Teams Together to Find a Cure for Cancer

What if buying a ticket to a football bowl game could help lead to a cure for cancer? That is exactly what the Orlando Sports Foundation (OSF) hopes to accomplish through its AutoNation Cure Bowl presented by Florida Hospital. The new bowl game in town will kick off the college football bowl season on Saturday, December 19 at the Orlando Citrus Bowl and will feature teams from the Sun Belt and American Athletic Conferences.

In addition to the athletes and coaches that make up the football teams, there are many other teams of people coming together to make this game a reality and a success. A growing team of volunteers, an impressive team of corporate partners, the best cancer researchers and the inspirational team of breast cancer survivors all have one goal in mind – to sell tickets and pack the stadium so a record-breaking donation can be made to charitable partner, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation (BCRF).

Leading the charge is OSF’s Board President, Megan Dowdy. She and the board hope to make the largest single donation ever from funds generated by a college football bowl game. The current record is believed to be a $90,000 donation by the Rose Bowl.

“This game will make history and change lives,” Dowdy said. “The Sun Belt and The American Athletic teams will provide an amazing battle on the football field, while OSF will make it possible for BCRF to directly fund more researchers who are battling this disease in their labs.”

Football + Cancer = Cure

So how did this unlikely pairing of college football and breast cancer happen? In the fall of 2007, a group of Orlando leaders and philanthropists wanted to bring a new college bowl game to Central Florida and make it different by directly tying it to a charitable cause.  As this idea was forming, Laura Goldstein — a strong, early advocate of the game — was diagnosed with stage IV metastatic breast cancer. This unfortunate event inspired the initial board of directors to choose breast cancer research and finding a cure as its charitable funding focus.

Board members knew that each college bowl game donated its profits to a charitable cause. However, the general public typically is unaware of which charitable causes are being supported. To separate this bowl from the rest, they wanted to give the public the chance to support the game as well as a significant cause. To do this, it was decided the cause would be permanently incorporated into the game title. As a result, the Cure Bowl was born. In October 2014, the name was updated to include the game’s new title sponsor, AutoNation.

Unfortunately, Laura Goldstein will not be able to experience the bowl game that she helped inspire. She lost her long and hard fought battle with breast cancer on April 20, 2011. Another devastating loss hit close to home when on March 24, 2015, OSF Board CFO Sandi Breitenstein passed away from stage IV liver cancer. Laura, Sandi and others continue to motivate the OSF teams to make the AutoNation Cure Bowl a success.

“The different teams behind the AutoNation Cure Bowl are amazing, anchored by national partners like AutoNation, Delta and CBS Sports Network as well as presenting sponsor, Florida Hospital,” Dowdy said. “This is not just a football game; this is a battle to protect our wives, mothers, grandmothers, aunts, sisters, daughters, nieces and best friends. The OSF team truly believes that together, we can tackle this!”

Want to To Learn More?

For more information about volunteering, sponsorship and/or to purchase tickets, please visit
www.curebowl.com

Hospitality suites at the game are also available to host corporate holiday parties.

Read more relevant, informative Orlando business news articles by browsing our website.


This article appears in the October 2015 issue of i4 Business.
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