Sunday, March 9 2014 8:35 PM EDT2014-03-10 00:35:58 GMT
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- Pieces of Cardinal basketball history will soon be in the hands of thousands of fans. The court that not too long ago lay in Atlanta's Georgia Dome, will soon be in Louisville at the KFC Yum! Center.
For the second year in a row, Northwestern Mutual purchased the NCAA basketball championship court in order to raise money for charity. The center court piece will be donated to the University of Louisville and put on display in the lobby of the Yum! Center. The rest of the court will be broken up and sold.
"To see the magnitude of that hanging. I'm just trying to imagine it being held by steel beams, it's amazing," said Coach Rick Pitino at a news conference Tuesday.
Fans will be able to purchase portions of the floor for prices starting just below $100. Proceeds will go towards pediatric cancer research at Kosair Children's Hospital. President of the hospital, Tom Kmetz says the projected $250,000 the project is set to raise will be extremely helpful to the hospital's research division. "It will propel our research agenda even further than it is today," said Kmetz.
Kmetz also said the attention from the fundraiser will hopefully raise awareness for their research division. "The awareness of this campaign that will take place over the next few months could lead to the next $10 million gift," said Kmetz.
For young Peyton Abernathy, the projected $250,000 the project will generate for cancer research could mean life or death. Peyton's mother said her son currently receives treatment only available through research. "They are trying a new study with new treatments to see if it keeps the percentage of relapses down."
As a cardinal fan and the mother of a Leukemia patient, Michelle Abernathy knows how much the donation means. "There hasn't been a lot of new drugs available for childhood cancer in the past decade or more, so childhood cancer needs as much funding as they can possibly get."
To raise even more money, Pitino is warming his hand up to sign 1,000 floor pieces. "I signed 850 bottles in an hour and a half, and the 'O' in my name started cramping," said Pitino, referring to his signing of Makers Mark bottles earlier this summer.
The souvenirs should be available for purchase by October 1.