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Basketball Doubleheader Celebrates Cancer Survivors, Barnum Festival

Event tips off Pioneers’ participation in 2017 CT Challenge Bike Ride.

Sacred Heart University’s athletic department honored cancer survivors at a basketball doubleheader Jan. 21 at the William H. Pitt Center, where the men’s and women’s squads welcomed Northeast Conference foe Wagner College of Staten Island.

The special guests were invited to a reception between games, sponsored by Zazi’s Mediterranean Grill of Fairfield. All survivors in attendance also had the opportunity to be part of halftime recognitions at both games.

The doubleheader was the #TeamSHU tip-off for the 2017 CT Challenge Bike Ride. The Pioneers have helped raise more than $30,000 during the challenge in the past three years for the Center for Survivorship. Fans who attended the games against Wagner received a Pioneer water bottle if they donated to the CT Challenge and #TeamSHU.

The men’s basketball coaching staff also took part in the National Association of Basketball Coaches’ (NABC) “Coaches vs. Cancer” program, a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the NABC. The men’s staff wore sneakers with their suits to draw awareness to the campaign.

The Saturday doubleheader featured ceremonial jump balls with Terry O’Connor, the 2017 Barnum Festival Ringmaster, marking the start of this year’s Barnum Festival. The festival began in 1948 to build community spirit and celebrate the world-renowned circus founder and Bridgeport resident, P.T. Barnum, while promoting the Greater Bridgeport area.

The boys’ fifth- and sixth-grade teams from the McGivney Center and Hall Neighborhood Center in Bridgeport, both supported in part by the Barnum Festival, played a halftime exhibition during the men’s game.

The SHU Kids Zone provided bounce houses for youth attending the events.