Chicago / Friday, November 21, 2014 – AUDL Commissioner Steve Gordon announced that the league has partnered with Early Recognition is Critical (ERIC) as part of their continued efforts to grow youth ultimate. It also presents the opportunity to provide children with critical education to help prevent and recognize the early symptoms of cancer.

“The AUDL is very excited to announce our partnership with ERIC”, said Commissioner Gordon. “I met the Co-Founder, Jim Gerencser, a little over a year ago and was immediately impressed with his passion and commitment to both the expansion of Ultimate and its values, as well as educating youth on the early signs of cancer. As his 30+ years of playing Ultimate will attest, Jim loves Ultimate and believes it instills the incredible values of Spirit that participants then positively apply to every aspect of their lives.”

“After the experience of having his son Eric diagnosed with cancer at an early age and a subsequent successful response he credits to early recognition of the symptoms, Jim made it his life’s mission to help children first take steps to prevent cancer, and second to teach them many of the early symptoms so they will be recognized and provide the opportunity for an immediate response.”

And while the official partnership is just beginning between the two enterprises, the AUDL and ERIC have a longstanding and integrated relationship. San Jose Spider Kurt Gibson, a cancer survivor himself, was introduced to the AUDL by Gerencser, and work to promote the organization on and off the field.

“Ultimate was my passion prior to my diagnosis, during it and afterward,” Gibson said of his battle with cancer in 2008. For Gibson, ultimate played a crucial role in helping him persevere, and allowed him to see beyond the daunting obstacles put in place by the disease.

“Having that goal of getting back on the field and being that player that I once was again would show that I could really beat it.”
Gibson’s teammate and league MVP Beau Kittredge is also involved in ERIC’s outreach efforts. Kittredge helped run skills clinics, and is outspoken about the importance of integrating sports with larger lessons – the AUDL’s ethic goes beyond the simple boundaries of the field.

“The AUDL is dedicated to the development of youth ultimate and most importantly, teaching our youth the amazing values Ultimate espouses,” Gordon continued.

“Being able to do so through an organization that not only embraces these teachings, but gives children critical information regarding cancer that may save their life one day is humbling and incredibly exciting. We look forward to working with ERIC for many years to come.”

Gerencser echoed Gordon’s sentiments, dovetailing the ideas that both organizations share.

“We at ERIC are excited to embark on this new relationship with the AUDL.” Gerencser said. “When Cassandra Palo and I founded ERIC, our mission was to bring the excitement, physical benefits, values and cancer awareness education to every child in the country. When I brought our vision to the AUDL, I was quickly impressed with how strongly their values aligned with ours. They are the pioneers in pro Ultimate, are doing all of the right things and their vision and commitment to the growth of youth Ultimate was inspiring. Almost immediately, I knew these were the right people to partner with. In particular, the depth of Steve’s passion for helping children led me to invite him to sit on the ERIC Board of Directors, and I’m delighted he’s agreed to do so.”

Through their own efforts and those of the AUDL member teams, ERIC and the AUDL will partner with schools and organizations across the country to establish Ultimate clinics that provide all the benefits of Ultimate and the cancer prevention and awareness education ERIC focuses on. Look for further announcements regarding the ERIC Medical Advisory Board, a new website providing extensive support information, dates for future clinics and events and how to donate.

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