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Pepperdine Esports Team Partners with Cancer Fit to Honor Cancer Warrior Connor Woods

Connor Woods and Willie the Wave

On Saturday, December 2, 2023, Pepperdine University’s Esports team, in partnership with Cancer Fit, held an MVP Draft Signing Day to induct honorary new member Connor Woods, a 14-year-old cancer patient who has been fighting T-cell leukemia since 2021. Cancer Fit, a nonprofit organization founded by Pepperdine’s director of campus recreation Robb Bolton, is dedicated to supporting childhood cancer patients and their families in Southern California by offering them free exercise and wellness programs. Started in 2012, the MVP Sports Draft program is a unique opportunity in which children are matched with local high school, college, and sometimes professional sports teams and granted honorary membership for a season.

“We are immensely grateful to the Pepperdine Esports team for their compassion and dedication to making a difference in the lives of children battling cancer,” said Bolton in a press release. “Connor’s MVP Draft Signing Day marks an incredible milestone in his journey, and we are thrilled to witness the community coming together to raise awareness and support for pediatric cancer.”Connor Woods and the Pepperdine Esports Team

During Saturday’s event, Woods and his family were given a tour of Pepperdine’s Malibu campus, after which he spoke about his experience fighting cancer and joined the Esports team for lunch. The team also invited Woods to participate in an official Esports team gaming session as an honorary member. In addition to drafting Woods, the team has made a commitment to host a Go Gold game to underscores the team’s commitment to spreading awareness and providing support to children fighting cancer. The event will shine a spotlight on the challenges faced by children afflicted with the disease and help to generate vital funds for Cancer Fit's programs.

“This past weekend was a tremendous experience that the Pepperdine Esports program and I were grateful to be a part of and witness,” shares Julian Baker, Pepperdine’s coordinator of recreational sports. “We are excited to walk alongside Connor throughout this inspiring initiative and are grateful for the opportunity to teach as well as learn from him. Additionally, we are looking forward to the many ways in which Pepperdine Esports will support and provide awareness for Childhood cancer for years to come.”

Cancer Fit’s MVP Sports Draft program returned after a three-year hiatus due to the pandemic, and this is the second time the organization has partnered with the University to honor a child undergoing cancer treatment.