BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (WIAT) — The UAB football team will look a little different this weekend. It will be sporting special jerseys in support of Smile-A-Mile. It’s a local organization that supports families as they navigate a childhood cancer journey.
After practice Thursday, players got to hang out and meet young patients and their families.
It’s all part of the team’s season-long initiative to give back to the community. Each player is teamed up with one of 100 Smile-A-Mile patients. The team will wear that patient’s name on the back on their special black and lime green jerseys during this Saturday’s game.
The special jerseys will be given to the patients at the end of the season.
Smile-A-Mile Chief Executive Officer Bruce Hooper said this event gives so much hope and joy to these young patents and their families.
“We have never had an event that has had such an outpouring where the kids and families are completely excited about what’s going to be going on Saturday night,” Hooper said. “For them to be able to see their names or for a bereaved family, to see the name of their child and to realize, as we always say, we will not forget any of the kids we serve. And so it will really be special on Saturday night.”
Smile-A-Mile has helped families here in our community for 40 years. The organization said UAB athletes have completed several hours of volunteer work with it this year, and this is just another example of their commitment to giving back.
“I think it’s as important as anything that they do,” Hooper said. “I’ve heard that same message repeated by Coach Dilfer. It all starts with serving others, and it’s way beyond football. It’s life for these guys out here, and it’s building community. It’s so special and wonderful.”
You can support the team and these patients at this Saturday’s game. UAB will take on Louisiana at Protective Stadium. Kickoff is set for 6 p.m.