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UC helps Stone family pay it forward

Catch up with the young cancer survivor who inspired UC's undefeated 2009 season and attend Feb. 19 playdate event at UC to help kids who are battling disease.

by John Bach

February 2, 2011

Few who are close to the University of Cincinnati Football program have forgotten the site of 12-year-old Mitch Stone walking the Bearcat sidelines during UC’s undefeated season in 2009.

Mitch, whose world had been wrecked with brain cancer, was adopted by the team, and more than a hundred UC football players rallied around the Anderson Township youngster as he fought for his life. The more they loved Mitch, the more they seemed to learn about themselves. By the end of the regular season, Mitch was cancer free, and the team stood undefeated.

These days, Mitch remains healthy, but his support system hasn’t stopped fighting for kids like himself who need to be rallied around. Leading the way is Mitch’s Mom, Dee Stone, Bus ’79, JD ’82, who now pours herself into a nonprofit called Mitch’s Mission.

Mitch’s Mission grew out of the relationship between the UC Bearcat football team and Mitch. With the help of the team, the family started Mitch’s Mission so that they could continue helping children facing similar health challenges.

Specifically, they are raising money to send pediatric cancer and blood-disease patients from Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center to a weeklong summer camp at Camp Joy in Clarksville, Ohio.

Mitch’s Mission will kick off its first fundraiser on Saturday, Feb. 19, from 4-7 p.m. at the UC Campus Recreation Center, and everyone is invited.

“We wanted to do something that would be fun for a family during the dreary days of February,” said Dee Stone, who organized the event known as “Playdate with the Bearcats,” a carnival-like event that will include UC football players, coaches, the Bearcat mascot and other UC student athletes who will be on hand to interact and play games with fans.

The cost is $15 per person or $50 per family and includes games such as corn hole, kid-friendly drills organized by UC coaches, swimming, rock climbing, face painting, food and music. There will also be a gift basket raffle. Tickets may be purchased online in advance or at the door.

“We were shown such support by the team during Mitch’s illness and we wanted to be able to pay it forward and help other kids with cancer or blood diseases,” says Stone. “For Mitch and other kids battling cancer or living with a blood disease such as sickle cell, going to camp is the highlight of their year. It is their chance to act like a regular child in a safe environment.”