Oct. 19, 2012
ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- John Beilein enters his sixth season as the head coach of the University of Michigan men's basketball program and over the years there is a lot the public has learned about him. Fans have seen him prepare players for the NBA, bring in the nation's top recruits, sell out Crisler Center, win a Big Ten title and raise Michigan Basketball back to a national contending team.However, there is more to coach Beilein than people see on the court. For example, many do not know coach Beilein has an older brother and sister who are both cancer survivors.
"I think cancer has touched us all," Beilein remarked on the disease. "I have stated already that I have an older brother and an older sister who are both cancer survivors and are doing wonderfully. I'm thinking there was research done 20 or 30 years ago that allowed my brother and sister to be survivors."
Beilein is using that inspiration to partner with the American Cancer Society and contribute to research on preventing the disease. The goal is to better understand the genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors that cause or prevent cancer.
With the motto of 'less cancer, more birthdays', the Cancer-Prevention Study (CPS-3) is a two-step process that provides research, rather than funds, to cancer studies.
"So many of us are tugged in so many ways to give financially," Beilein said. "But this is one way for those who don't have a lot in their checkbook to assist. The research is the only way that we are going to beat it. More dollars are not going to do it -- it is not about that. It is about having the research -- this is the research."
Earlier this month, Beilein completed the first step of the study, which is an online survey regarding lifestyle, behavior and other health factors. Requiring about 30 minutes, the survey provided Beilein an opportunity to better examine how he lives.
"It's really interesting. When I filled out the survey it was enjoyable because I reviewed my life," Beilein said. "I got to look at my life in ways like how much did I used to exercise and how much do I now. How much did I used to be in the sun and how much am I now. Then, things like what I used to eat. It was really interesting. I don't think anyone who fills out the survey will regret it."
The second part of the study takes place at a local enrollment event, where consent is given along with another brief survey, a waist circumference measurement and a small blood sample. Beilein will continue to fill out periodic surveys throughout the next several years.
Not only does his family history with cancer inspire Beilein to participate in the study, but so does the possibility of providing research that could save loved ones in the future.
"There is research that is going to be done in the next 30 years -- it might be me, it might be my wife, it might be my children who are helped. It might be one of my coaches or one of my players. So the research is the only way that we are going to beat it."
While coach Beilein has certainly made an impact in the Michigan Basketball program, he is also making an impact in the community and the fight against cancer.
To learn more about this study and additional ways you can help, visit www.cancer.org/annarborcps3.