MADISON, Wis. -- It was another record-setting day at the fourth-annual Shooting Down Cancer event hosted by Wisconsin men's basketball coach Bo Ryan and his wife, Kelly, at the Kohl Center on Monday.
The fundraising celebration has grown in student participation and, more importantly, money raised every year. This year the UW-Madison student body helped raise Ryan’s donation to the American Cancer Society to $60,147. Combined with matching donations, the 2015 grand total was $694,117.
"What can I say? I'm numb," Ryan said of the turnout and support. "It's unbelievable how people stepped up and put these kind of numbers out there toward research and beating this doggone disease. I'd like to say I'm speechless, but no one from my hometown has ever been speechless.
"It's phenomenal the support and how people have rallied around this. Just from a simple idea of having students interact with the players, and instead of a midnight madness we do this for the fight against cancer."
In four years, Shooting Down Cancer has now raised a total of $1,078,301.
The premise of the charity event is simple: UW-Madison students come to the Kohl Center and take a shot at Ryan's wallet. For starters, Bo and Kelly Ryan donate $1 to Coaches vs. Cancer/the American Cancer Society for every UW-Madison student that simply walked into the Kohl Center. Students are then given an opportunity to knock down some shots to increase the donation. For a made free throw, $10 is donated and for every half-court shot another $1,000 is donated.
Students also had the opportunity to meet Coach Ryan and the team, enjoy free food and beverages, prizes, giveaways and more.
Students hit a combined 54 half-court shots on Monday. Among those cashing in from midcourt were Riley Dearring and Vitto Brown of the men's basketball team and Nicole Bauman from the women's hoops team.
"We're blown away," Ryan added. "But, what we're hoping is that the money goes and gets something done in the fight against cancer."