Huskers were #AveryStrong on Saturday


Perhaps you've heard about Avery Harriman, the 7-year-old son of Nebraska assistant coach Chris Harriman. He's bravely battled leukemia since he was 2 and has become a huge part of the Cornhuskers' basketball program, as this video details.

Who could forget the pic of Nebraska forward Shavon Shields shaving his head in unity with Avery? Or the kid's joyous reaction back in August when he learned he was leaving the hospital?

And then after even better news earlier this month -- that Avery was in remission in his third different fight with cancer -- the Huskers let him speak at the postgame news conference after a win over Illinois. It was a priceless moment, as was this visit to the Nebraska locker room.

Which brings us to Saturday's #AveryStrong game at a sold-out Pinnacle Bank Arena. Not only were Avery and other local children battling pediatric cancer honored during pregame ceremonies, but perhaps more importantly, there was a donor drive in which fans were able to sign up for the bone marrow registry and take the tests to see if they are a potential match. Avery has undergone a pair of bone marrow transplants and the donors were found through the registry.

During Saturday's festivities, both Avery and his name could be spotted everywhere. He was on the pregame radio show, which can be heard here.

And the entire student section and Nebraska's staff wore #AveryStrong T-shirts. (Chris Harriman and head coach Tim Miles even added specially designed gold and orange sneakers.) New football coach Mike Riley, baseball coach Darin Erstad and chancellor Harvey Perlman took part as well while sitting in the Red Zone.

After the game, Avery even took part in the press conference again.

Oh, and by the way, on #AveryStrong Day, the Huskers got their biggest win of the year: a 79-77 victory over Michigan State. But Avery's dad is hoping the day's donor drive and Nebraska shining a light on awareness for the cause will have a much more lasting effect than a win on the court.

"It’s been my goal since Day One ... to make people aware of the bone-marrow registry, to make people more aware of pediatric cancer and how poorly it’s funded. The numbers are staggering. We need people to understand how small that [bone-marrow] registry is, and its lack of diversity." Chris Harriman told the Lincoln Journal Star.

He added that his goal is to have a similar awareness day at every Big Ten basketball arena next year.

"We’ve already had some schools from the ACC call. Let’s make this thing as big as possible. Why can’t we have every school in the country doing it?"