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Why Tucker Out Lymphoma Night is so special to Bandits

The Buffalo Bandits and Colorado Mammoth are teaming up to host the sixth annual Tucker Out Lymphoma Night on Saturday.

The annual event honors the memory of Tucker Williams, who lost his battle with Burkitt's lymphoma in 2014. Tucker is the son of former Bandits forward and current Mammoth assistant coach Shawn Williams.

The Bandits (5-2) and Mammoth (1-4) play at 7:30 p.m. at KeyBank Center.

The event has raised more than $110,000 in its first five years. Proceeds go to pediatric cancer care in Buffalo and the surrounding area.

“The night is obviously very emotional for our family while being such an amazing and incredibly special event," Williams said, adding that "words cannot describe the gratitude and thankfulness that our family" has for the Bandits organization.

"The amount of support is incredible. The amount of awareness created is incredible. The amount of money raised for kids and families battling this terrible disease is incredible. What is really incredible is that this night is all possible from the love and huge heart of Scott Loffler."

"From the get-go, Scott always asked our opinions on the night as he always wanted to honor Tucker in any and every way possible."

Loffler is the Bandits' director of operations.

"This game has a lot of meaning to the organization because Tucker was such a great kid with a bright future, and because the Williams’ are such an amazing family," Loffler said. "But we play this game each year to remember Tucker and his brave battle with an unfair disease, and also to carry on his legacy of helping others in need.

"Yes, the game’s title bears Tucker’s name, but if he were here today, I know he would tell the guys to not only play for and remember him, but to also play for and honor all the loved ones they’ve lost along the way. Tucker was a young kid with an old soul, but through this game that soul lives on."

Williams was a six-time National Lacrosse League All-Star and played with the Bandits in 2000 and '01 and again in 2013 and '14 before retiring and moving into a scouting role. He is in his first season as a Colorado assistant coach.

The Williams family is involved in multiple aspects of the event. Tucker’s 15-year-old sister, Dylana, will sing the Canadian national anthem before game, while Tucker’s 18-year-old brother, Dyson, has again designed the jerseys to be worn by both teams.

The special game-worn “Braver Than Brave” jerseys are available for bid on the Bandits website. The auction will end at 6 p.m. Monday. The team also is auctioning various items from the game, including shorts.

A special game ball with the Tucker Out Lymphoma logo will be used during the game. That logo also will be affixed to each team's jerseys.

At 5 p.m., the Bandits will host a Bald for Bucks event in which fans can get their heads shaved by a Bandits player. Proceeds from Bald for Bucks benefit the Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Although the Williams family never lived in Buffalo, Shawn Williams said it always feels like home when they visit.

“It is 100 percent a family event,” Shawn said. “A great big lacrosse family event. The love and support from Banditland and the rest of the league is overwhelming and beautiful.”

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