Hawks Vice Chair Grant Hill (right) presents a check for $150,000 to Jonathan W. Simons of the Prostate Cancer Foundation recently. Photo provided.

Hawks’ campaign to fight prostate cancer results in $150,000 donation

The Hawks’ inaugural campaign to help in the fight against prostate cancer resulted in a $150,000 donated to the Prostate Cancer Foundation, the team announced Thursday.

In recognition of Black History Month and to bring a greater awareness of the disease to the African-American community, the Hawks pledged $250 per assist during the month of February. During the Black History Month Assist Challenge, the Hawks had 295 assists, the eighth most in the NBA during the month, for a total of $73,750 from the Hawks Foundation. Hawks owners Tony Ressler, Jami Gertz and the Ressler family contributed another $76,250 to reach a total of $150,000 to the PCF.

Prostate cancer disproportionately affects African-American men, according to the organizations. The disease affects more than four million men in the U.S. and 14 million worldwide. One in six men of African descent in the U.S. are diagnosed with prostate cancer in his lifetime. African-American men are 76 percent more likely to be diagnosed, more than twice as likely to die and are much more likely to develop aggressive forms of the disease than other ethnicities.

“We are deeply grateful to the entire Atlanta Hawks organization for their all-star efforts to engage their audience through basketball to address the real problem we face in the in this country of too many African-American men dying from prostate cancer,” Jonathan W. Simons, MD, PCF’s president and CEO, said in a statement released by the team. “Lives will not only be saved through education and awareness created about the disease, but also through the Hawks’ generous contribution to science which will be utilized for projects directly related to addressing the issue of disparity in African-American prostate cancer.”

As part of the month-long campaign, Hawks Vice Chair of the Board and Basketball Hall of Famer Grant Hill and his father, NFL Legend Calvin Hill, filmed a public service announcement that was aired throughout the month on various Hawks channels to raise awareness of the disease.

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