The Husker football team continues to raise awareness for pediatric brain cancer through their annual Husker Road Race.
The event funds the Team Jack Foundation through a one mile fun run, as well as a 5k. Team Jack is a foundation for Jack Hoffman, a Husker fan who battled brain cancer at a young age, and stole the hearts of Husker nation with his famous 69-yard touchdown run in the 2013 spring game. Since then, Nebraska football has raised over $125,000 for pediatric brain cancer research.
This year, the event was held in honor of Andy Hoffman, Jack’s father and co-founder of Team Jack. On March 1, Hoffman passed away from his own battle with brain cancer at the age of 42.
His wife Brianna spoke at the event, thanking the many participants. .
“Andy always said a drop in the bucket goes a long ways, so no matter if you're here running or supporting someone, it all really makes a difference," Hoffman said.
Andy was a lifelong husker fan, and built a relationship with Husker football through Team Jack. today, the team presented the Hoffman family with a framed jersey in his honor. Hoffman also spoke about the good things the team jack foundation can do, thanks to the support from events such as the Husker Road Race.
“We’ve been able to fund a lot of research for the foundation, and now, we’re able to fund research in Omaha, which is amazing, and we’re able to conduct research right here in the state.”
The event also honored 12-year-old Kieran Akerson, who is battling a brain tumor, and recently underwent an 11-hour surgery. Angie Vasha is Kieran's aunt, and she emphasized how important event’s like the road race are in raising awareness for the condition.
"Less than 4% of funds for cancer research are spent on this disease," Vasha said. "That's why events like these are so important."
Members of the Husker football team spoke, including quarterback Adrian Martinez, who spoke about a personal connection to fighting to end cancer.
“I know what it’s like to fight for this cause," Martinez said. "Growing up, my mom was diagnosed with cancer, and actually passed, and it’s really difficult, but I know, it’s better together.”
Running back coach Ryan Held stressed the importance of things like the Husker Road Race in helping bring an end to pediatric cancer.
"We've got a tough opponent," Held said. "But we're not going to back down. We're going to keep fighting for this, until it's done. And events like this are so important to get this done."