Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, Blue Care Network and University of Michigan to stress importance of early cancer detection, while giving fans a chance to win a "Michigan Football Experience"

PR Newswire

DETROIT, Aug. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are partnering with the University of Michigan (U of M) to launch The Michigan Football Experience Sweepstakes, a fan contest with a vital message – early detection of cancer through regular visits to the doctor can lead to vastly improved health outcomes for those facing the disease.  

The program launched today and will culminate at the Michigan Wolverines' November 30th game against Ohio State.  One winner will receive a trip for two to attend the Michigan Wolverines' next bowl game. Four additional winners will receive an opportunity to participate in the Michigan Men's Football Experience, and another five winners will have the opportunity to attend the Michigan Women's Football Academy. This collaborative effort is designed to increase awareness of men's health issues, focusing on prostate cancer awareness, early detection and prevention, and U of M's "Men of Michigan" Prostate Cancer Research Fund.

In 2002, while CEO of Domino's Pizza, Dave Brandon, U of M athletic director and former football player under Bo Schembechler, was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Immediately following the diagnosis, Brandon underwent life-saving surgery; performed by U of M physician James E. Montie, M.D., and pledged to support prostate cancer research. Now, Brandon leads efforts surrounding the Michigan Men's Football Experience, an annual event raising funds for the "Men of Michigan" Prostate Cancer Research Fund.

"I have been blessed that several men have made a significant, positive impact on my life," said Brandon. "First and foremost is my dad. Among many life lessons, he taught me to work hard and do everything I can to have a positive impact on the lives of others. I also owe great thanks to my high school coaches and my college coach — the legendary Bo Schembechler. They taught me lessons about teamwork, preparation, competition, winning and playing by the rules. Another individual who has had a profound impact on my life is Dr. James Montie. Dr. Montie's skill as a doctor and surgeon cured me of prostate cancer and significantly extended my life. What better gift can one receive?"

"Dave Brandon's story of survival and his creation of the Michigan Men's Football Experience to support Dr. Montie's research is an inspiration to all of us," said Dan Loepp, president and CEO of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. "We're proud to be a part of this very important cause that helps continue our commitment to improving men's health in Michigan by stressing the importance of awareness, prevention and early detection."

Brandon, along with former U of M Football Coach Lloyd Carr, created the Michigan Men's Football Experience in 2009 to offer a program where attendees learn exactly what it's like to be a member of the Michigan Wolverines football team. The exclusive, two day event, has participants suiting up head to toe in full football equipment to experience on-field training at the big house. The Michigan Men's Football Experience has gone on to become one of the most successful support programs for the U of M Health System Prostate Cancer Research Program, raising more than $1 million to date.  

The Michigan Women's Football Academy, held annually since 1997, brings together female football fans to benefit the Patient and Family Services Program at the University of Michigan's Comprehensive Cancer Center. Participants enjoy an action-packed day filled with learning football basics, coaching, on-field training, a real scrimmage game, and skill competitions. The academy has raised nearly $2 million over the past 12 years.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, prostate cancer is the most commonly diagnosed cancer in American men, and the second-leading cause of cancer death in men, after lung cancer. Through screening and early detection, most cases can be treated if found before the cancer has spread to other parts of the body.

Individuals who enter the online sweepstakes have the opportunity to win the following prizes:

Grand Prize: An all-expense paid trip to an upcoming bowl game (one winner)

  • Prize package for winner and a guest includes two (2) game tickets, airfare, lodging and two (2) passes to an official, pre-game hospitality event

First Prizes: (nine winners): Michigan Men's Football Experience (four winners)

A once-in-a-lifetime, two-day event where attendees become a member of the Michigan Wolverines football team, led by Michigan Football Coach Brady Hoke and his staff, along with former University of Michigan coaching legends.

  • Experience the Michigan tradition by participating in on-field training in offensive, defensive and special team schemes
  • Participate in team meetings in Schembechler Hall, and review practice films
  • Attend traditional team breakfasts, pre-game meals and a Legends Dinner with Michigan football greats
  • Meals and overnight accommodations at the Sheraton Hotel of Ann Arbor

Michigan Women's Football Academy (five winners):

The academy provides rare access inside Michigan football, led by Michigan coaching staff, allowing participants to learn football basics during on-field training and access to usually off-limit areas like Schembechler Hall and the Al Glick and Oosterbaan Field Houses.

  • A day of learning offensive and defensive skills
  • Field practice in passing, footwork and blocking
  • An actual scrimmage in Michigan Stadium
  • A passing competition
  • Film analysis session in Schembechler Hall
  • Tours of the team locker room and museum

Registration for The Michigan Football Experience Sweepstakes presented by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network is currently open, and runs through November 18, 2013. For more information on men's health, prostate cancer and the benefits of early detection and prevention, visit AHealthierMichigan.org.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan and Blue Care Network are nonprofit corporations and independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. For more company information, visit http://www.bcbsm.com.

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