The Pride of Oklahoma is banding together with the Stephenson Cancer Center in the battle against cancer. Through Friday, October 28th, the OU Band is selling commemorative sashes to raise money for cancer research. During the November 12th halftime performance, band members will wear these sashes to honor those who have been affected by cancer.
Last year, the band sold 275 sashes and raised $75,000 for the Stephenson Cancer Center. This year, the band and the community are continuing to rally behind this cause.
For Melanie Ferguson, ordering a sash to commemorate her father, Jabez Blake Sanders, is an opportunity to honor him and his love for the OU Band. Sanders started his first semester at OU in the fall of 1936 and became the Drum Major by 1937. Ferguson’s family recalled that Sanders did the traditional Drum Major strut so well that the plume of his hat would touch the ground. “Growing up, being Drum Major was such a big deal to us it was like he was president of the United States,” said Ferguson.
Sanders paid his way through college by playing in big performance bands on the weekends, but his pride was being a leader in the OU band. “It was so important to him and shaped who he was,” said Ferguson. After earning his Business degree in 1941, Sanders served in the military and returned to OU to earn his Law degree in 1948.
Sanders was diagnosed with lung cancer in 1976 and fought until he passed away in 1981. “Cancer has definitely touched our family,” Ferguson said. “Knowing that a member of the band is on the field marching in his honor, it’s almost as if he’s out there again,” she said.
The sashes will be personalized with the name of the person or group being honored and will be mailed back to the donor as a keepsake after the performance. Donors can also request specific band members to wear their sash.
Members of the band will be in the North Oval one hour before the game for a meet and greet with donors. During this time donors can come meet the band member who will be wearing their sash for the special halftime performance.
The deadline to make a donation for a sash is approaching. They will be available to order until Friday, October 28th. To purchase a sash or get more information, visit bandtogetheroklahoma.org.
Join the Pride of Oklahoma and the Stephenson Cancer Center in the fight against cancer and be there on November 12th as they honor the memory of loved ones and offer hope for those fighting the battle now.