BYU head basketball coach Dave Rose has advanced to the final round of the Infiniti Coaches’ Charity Challenge, moving him one step closer to receiving $100,000 for the Children with Cancer Christmas Foundation.
Rose, who has been involved with the charity for 15 years, said he and his family have fostered many relationships throughout that time.
“We have such a great relationship with so many of the families and children who have overcome the disease and the many children who are still battling the disease,” he said. “We’re also really close with the families who’ve lost their children. [The foundation] is a great way for us to be able to help these families through a very difficult time.”
According to Rose, acquiring funds for the charity has never been easy, so the chance to make such a sizable contribution is important.
“Trying to raise money has always been a challenge,” he said. “This is an opportunity for us to make a good donation to the foundation.”
Rose’s wife, Cheryl, said winning the challenge will help the foundation for years to come.
“We want this to go on and on, long after we’re gone,” she said. “That’s why this money is so important.”
Cheryl, who is a member of the foundation’s committee, said their goal is to alleviate the stresses that commonly accompany the holiday season, especially for families who are already under tremendous financial and emotional stress.
“We try and provide a Christmas party each year for these children and their families,” she said. “We have a meal and a party where they can come and, just for one night, forget about the cares and the stress that this disease brings upon the family. Sometimes it might not be financial stresses or burdens, sometimes it’s just the emotional burden.”
Whether it’s providing gifts for children at Christmas or throwing an annual summer luau, Cheryl said the foundation has made an impact for the cancer-stricken families.
“It’s been a great experience,” she said. “The feedback that we get from these families is that it really does make a difference in their lives and it does bring joy to their children while they’re going through a really tough time.”
One beneficiary of the foundation is Natalie Wright, who has had brain cancer since she was four. Now, as a confident and well-spoken 14-year-old, Wright said she appreciates what the charity has given her.
“I think as I’ve gotten older, it’s kind of relieved stress,” she said. “I just get to go and be myself around everyone who’s been going through times like me and the things I’ve been going through.”
Natalie’s mother, Dana, said her daughter is fortunate to be in a stable condition right now. She also said Natalie hopes to give back to the same organization that’s helped her for the past 10 years.
“Since she’s grown up watching this wonderful organization, she wants to participate as one of the volunteers as she gets older,” Dana said. “She can’t wait to be the one that helps out. This foundation is just a perpetual state of goodness. These people dedicate so much of their time and their energy focusing on kids with challenges and their families.”
Anson Winder, a freshman guard from Las Vegas, said Coach Rose’s charitable endeavors come as no surprise and that the team is rooting for him to come out on top.
“I think it’s great. He loves helping people, that’s just his mentality,” Winder said. “Anything he can do to give back, you know, he’s all for it. We’re all excited about it and we hope he wins.”
Although Coach Rose has made it to the final round of the Coaches’ Challenge, his wife said it will be an uphill battle to come away with the prize.
“Schools like Ohio State and West Virginia have more students and their alumni and fan base is huge,” she said. “It’s a David and Goliath feat that we’re trying to accomplish. But I have faith in Cougar fans and I believe that they want this money to come to these kids that live right here.”
According to the Roses, the key to winning the competition is perseverance under a common goal and purpose.
“If we get together and we talk about this with our friends and they ask their friends to help, we can accomplish this,” Cheryl said. “We’ve proven already that we can hang in there, we just need that extra push. Like Coach Rose said, the school that wins this is going to be the school that endures to the end.”
The final round — which pits Rose against Bob Huggins of West Virginia, Frank Haith of Missouri and Thad Matta of Ohio State — runs through March 8. Fans can vote online once per day until the end of the challenge. The winner will be announced on March 9.