Student Athlete Advisory Committee to honor former Illini football player

By Jacob Hurwith

Norwell was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in October 2008, shortly after playing at the University.

Since Norwell is in no need of financial help, SAAC said it will be donating the money to the American Cancer Society in his name.

“It is a great honor to have them donate in my name,” Norwell said. “Cancer hits a lot of people out there. They need our help.”

SAAC started planning the event at the beginning of the school year. Cecilia Marizu, junior in Media and a member of the swimming and diving team, said SAAC wanted to put together a fundraiser like this after hearing that other SAACs in the Big Ten were doing the same.

“Other SAACs have done fundraisers in the country, and the point of SAAC is to give back to the community,” Marizu said. “This fundraiser gets us involved in the community and our university. We definitely want this community to know we really care about them and are willing to extend a helping hand.”

The student-athletes who helped plan the fashion show worked with seven local businesses to provide clothing for the event, said Kathy Kaler, athletic academic counselor at the University.

“These student-athletes have done a fantastic job of organizing this event with limited free time that they have in their schedules,” Kaler said. “Many are right in the middle of their seasons, so it’s been a big undertaking for them.”

One of the clothing lines that will be modeled and auctioned off by the student-athletes is one by Michael Calkins, a former Illinois tennis player who is now playing professionally in Seattle.

In addition to local businesses, the athletic department will be donating as well. Courtney Spivak, junior in LAS and a member of the swimming and diving team, said SAAC members went around and asked people within the athletic department to make donations.

The silent auction will include numerous items donated by businesses around the community as well as autographed memorabilia by athletes and coaches such as Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber, Chicago Bears running back Matt Forte, Illinois head football coach Ron Zook and former Illini football player J Leman.

Nicole Cowart, junior in Business, president of SAAC and member of the women’s gymnastics squad, confirmed that the group did not have a specific monetary goal for the event but is hoping to have at least 800 people attend Tuesday night.

“We have no idea how much money we are going to raise because we have never done anything like this before,” Cowart said. “However, any money raised for a good cause is a success.”