This past fall, high schools across the Carolinas teamed up with the Carolina Panthers and American Cancer Society for the fifth annual "High School Crucial Catch" program, modeled after the NFL's "Crucial Catch" cancer awareness initiative. Participating schools helped raise $58,500 to help fund local grants to support cancer screenings, education and other patient services.
According to the American Cancer Society, schools in the Carolinas have consistently been among the top performing schools in the country. In 2016, Carolinas' schools placed ten schools in the national Top 20 for fundraising, including five in the Top 10 and three in the Top 5. National results have not been tabulated for 2017.
"The Carolina Panthers and American Cancer Society are grateful for the time, energy and passion high schools in our region have put into the Crucial Catch program," said Riley Fields, Panthers director of community relations. "In addition to raising important funding, the schools have provided strong messaging about the importance of screenings and created a strong sense of community by honoring those impacted by cancer and celebrating those who have conquered the disease."
Ravenscroft School in Raleigh, N.C. was this year's national pace setter $25,758 in fundraising. The Carolina Panthers salute each of this year's High School Crucial Catch participating schools:
- Dutch Fork High School (Irmo, S.C.)
- Fort Mill High School (Fort Mill, S.C.)
- Gaffney High School (Gaffney, S.C.)
- Hoggard High School (Wilmington, N.C.)
- Ravenscroft High School (Raleigh, N.C.)
- South Pointe High School (Rock Hill, S.C.)
- Spartanburg High School (Spartanburg, S.C.)
- Union High School (Union, S.C.)
In 2017, the NFL broadened the Crucial Catch program from a singular focus supporting the fight against breast cancer to supporting the fight against all cancers. Special emphasis was given to supporting the fight against screenable cancers. High schools in the Crucial Catch program had the option to continue their efforts in supporting the fight against breast cancer, or supporting another form of the disease.
"The expanded platform for Crucial Catch provides schools with added flexibility to support a specific cause that may be important to them," said Fields. "We look forward to the continued partnership with the American Cancer Society and schools in our region and our combined efforts to make important progress in the fight against cancer."