Friday, July 20, 2007

Donte Whitner's Charity Event

Whitner Hoping For Strike Against Cancer
by Chris Brown,
July 18, 2007

Bills safety Donte Whitner isn't all that different from anyone else when it comes to family. Growing up in a household with a mother and grandmother as his main role models along with four other siblings, Whitner learned quickly that family comes first.

Whitner is fortunate to still have all of his immediate family members in his life, but his grandmother Rosetta Whitner is currently battling lung cancer. Diagnosed close to a year ago Ms. Whitner is undergoing chemotherapy treatments at the Cleveland clinic.

"My family has never lost a family member this close to us," Whitner said. "So it gets kind of tough."

The illness with which the eldest Whitner is afflicted has prompted Donte to take action against the disease in the form of a charitable bowling tournament to be held this Saturday (July 21) at the Corner Alley in downtown Cleveland.

"My grandmother's condition has compelled me to do this," said Whitner. "I love my grandmother dearly and I hope that she can beat this, but there are a lot other families across the country and around the world that are battling cancer as well. I really think if a lot of people can come together and raise money with events like this that it can really help to speed up the cancer research process."

The tournament has been aptly titled 'Cancer Strike' and Whitner has already gained the support of several current NFL and former college teammates that will be attending the event.

"Lee Evans is coming out and I really reached out to all of my teammates and asked them to come up," said Whitner. "I know a majority of them will be here. Some former teammates too like Takeo Spikes and Nate Clements will be in for the event as well. Troy Smith will be here as will Ted Ginn. We've got a number of guys coming."

Whitner made bowling the sport of choice for the event for a couple of reasons.

"I like to bowl," he said. "I go down to the alley in my spare time and release some stress. One night I was at the alley and I was thinking I should do a bowling event that benefits cancer and it grew from there."

"It's something that a lot of guys in the locker room do. Not all of them may be very good at it, but a lot of them do like to bowl. We just want to come out and have a good time at this event and talk a little trash and ultimately raise some money to benefit cancer research."

Already getting some corporate support for the event, Whitner also hopes fans turn out to have fun with some NFL players, raise some money and take part in a chance to win some quality items up for auction.

"We'll have a Terrell Owens jersey, my jersey, Troy Smith and Ted Ginn jerseys," Whitner said. "We'll have some signed footballs and bowling pins. We have a lot of good auction items here for fans."

The grand prize for the winning six-member team is $5,000, half of which will be donated to cancer research.

Rosetta Whitner, the motivation for the tournament's creation, is not expected to attend the event since she's scheduled for a chemotherapy treatment the day before the event.

Her grandson however, is planning on his grandmother and his newly formed charity venture to both be around for a long time.

"I think it will be fulfilling and I plan to do this annually," said Whitner. "Hopefully my grandmother will beat it and can be an advocate for beating cancer and cancer research."

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