For Dad: Gard brothers to unite in Brain Cancer Awareness Game t - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

For Dad: Gard brothers to unite in Brain Cancer Awareness Game this weekend

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MADISON, Wis. (WKOW) -- It'll be a busy weekend at the University of Wisconsin.

The football team has a top 15 showdown on Saturday and the men's basketball team opens the season Sunday against UW-Platteville. The game pits Badgers head coach Greg Gard against baby brother, Jeff Gard, the head coach of the Pioneers.

It's not just brother versus brother on Sunday, but a day to celebrate and remember their late father, Glen. 

"When the doctors first told us is was glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), I mean, nobody knew, " Jeff Gard said, recalling that day in April of 2015 when Glen was first diagnosed. 

They were told it was Glioblastoma multiforme (GBM), a rare form of brain cancer.  After a courageous six month battle, Glen Gard passed away.

As the one year anniversary of his death approaches, the Gard brothers were given a unique opportunity by the WIAC.  After being approached by the commissioner of the league for the possibility of a Gard v. Gard matchup,  the brothers noticed a date: October 30th. 

"As I looked at it and how the calendar laid out, October 30th came to mind, " Gard said during a press conference, pausing for a moment as tears welled up in his eyes, "Which was the day our dad passed away."

Jeff was right by his side during the announcement.

"It brings back a lot of those memories as well, but I also think this game in itself is kind of can be a little bit of a healing process."

A process made easier by helping families who are battling GBM and other forms of cancer. After a few phone calls, the university partnered with the Carbone Center and came up with the idea of the Brain Cancer Awareness Game.

"I could definitely see him being a nervous wreck going into it but also extremely excited."

As for what dad would say about the match-up...

"Don't take it easy on him. He'd probably tell him the same thing," Greg says with a smile, "Have fun with it. You know that would be the biggest thing, just have fun with it, enjoy it. "

However, emotions will still be high with the entire Gard family in attendance. 

"It'll be tough early on, I can just see where Mom's gonna be sitting at, " Jeff says while choking back tears, "It'll be tough to see her but she'll be smiling as well." 

There will be one more person smiling but from a much higher place. 

"He'll be there smiling down and I know he would really enjoy this as well."

The Pioneers will wear warm up shirts with the words "It's A Family Thing" while the Badgers will wear custom made memorial patches.
The patch features the initials of Glen Gard, Kathy Gutierrez, the mom of associate head coach Lamont Paris, who passed away in June, and also Ab Nicholas, a former u-w basketball player who passed away in August. 

Tip-off it set for 1 p.m. at the Kohl Center. 
 

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