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by Staff Writer / Tampa Bay Lightning

On Thursday, November 17, the Tampa Bay Lightning will once again team up with community leader Steve Yerrid and The Yerrid Foundation to battle cancer when the team plays host to the New York Islanders at the St. Pete Times Forum. The game, which starts at 7:30 p.m., marks the fifth anniversary of Tampa Bay Fights Cancer Night, serving as the centerpiece of Tampa Bay Fights Cancer Week, which begins November 11. Nearly 4,000 cancer survivors and caretakers will enjoy the game for free while helping bring the cause to the forefront of the community's awareness.

The Yerrid Foundation and the Lightning Foundation will provide tickets, T-shirts and food vouchers for cancer patients, cancer survivors, their parents, families, doctors, nurses and volunteers from nine local cancer organizations and hospitals. Additionally, all fans will receive yellow Thunderstix to help promote cancer awareness. Fans wishing to lend a hand to this special cause can do so at the game by purchasing Tampa Bay Fights Cancer T-shirts for $20 or a copy of Tampa Bay Lightning Winning Ways, The Making of a Championship Heart for $20.

The Lightning-Islanders game is the centerpiece of a weeklong campaign throughout the Tampa Bay area designed to help raise awareness and get more people involved in the fight against cancer. City of Tampa Mayor Pam Iorio issued a proclamation declaring the week from Nov. 11-19, 2005 'Tampa Bay Fights Cancer Week,' the fifth consecutive year such a proclamation has been issued.

"I'm honored and humbled by the courage of those who are fighting every day to beat cancer, and I hope that their struggle and this event help inspire more people to join in the battle to find a cure," Yerrid said.

"Individuals fighting against cancer square off against the disease each and every day," said Lightning President and H. Lee Moffitt Cancer Center Foundation board member Ron Campbell. "For the fifth consecutive year our great friend Steve Yerrid and The Yerrid Foundation are finding a way to get those people and their families an evening away from their worries while putting smiles on their faces. The time and resources invested in Tampa Bay Fights Cancer Night are tremendous and we thank Steve for allowing us to work with him for such a great cause and for the individuals who are battling the disease."

Special guests at the game will receive free t-shirts, Zamboni rides, meet-and-greets with Lightning players and will enjoy other activities on the plaza level. Also, Lightning center Brad Richards, a board member at the Children's Cancer Center, will host a group of children in his suite through the "Richy's Rascals" charity program which he created in 2002. The night will truly be one to remember as all of Tampa Bay unites in its fight against cancer.

Other elements included in "Tampa Bay Fights Cancer Week" are The Steve Yerrid Kids' Fishing Derby on Friday, Nov. 11, the Chuck LaMar Celebrity Fishing Tournament on Saturday, Nov. 12 and Sunday, November 13 and the 10th Annual Night of the Iguana on Friday, November 18. The Kids' Derby allows pediatric patients and their siblings a chance to fish alongside sports celebrities and media personalities, while the LaMar event is a two-day tournament that raises money for the Pediatric Cancer Foundation, and features nationally known sports figures among its participants. Guests at the Night of the Iguana will enjoy gourmet specialties from the Tampa Bay area's most popular restaurants, with proceeds benefiting The Make-A-Wish Foundation.

In addition, the Ronald McDonald House of Tampa Bay's 17th Annual Golf Classic on November 18 and 19 at Innisbrook is helping to raise funds for the three area Ronald McDonald Houses.

Organizations which have been sponsored for the Lightning-Islanders game on Nov. 17 include: Children's Cancer Center, Children's Dream Fund, Faces of Courage, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, Make-A-Wish Foundation, Moffitt Cancer Center, Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Ronald McDonald House and Tampa General Hospital.

In December 1998, the National Hockey League and the National Hockey League Players' Association announced a joint initiative, Hockey Fights Cancer, to honor those in the hockey community who have struggled, or continue to struggle with cancer. Hockey's All-Star Kids Program, an extension of Hockey Fights Cancer, was introduced in October 1999 to link the hockey community with the youngest victims of cancer.
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