Before his Akron team played Toledo last Saturday, Keith Dambrot felt the tears coming during the "Star Spangled Banner."

There was no holding them back.

For this one game, director of basketball operations Dan "Pete" Peters was back with the Zips. He'd been on leave since mid-December, battling pancreatic cancer after receiving an exceedingly bleak diagnosis – a 5 percent chance of recovery.

But the 59-year-old was on the bench for that game, serving as a profound reminder of what really matters.

"I kind of lost it a little bit during the national anthem," Dambrot said. "Normally these games are so important to us, but it changes your whole perspective on things. It was hard."

Next Wednesday, Akron will help spread perspective to its fans and beyond – through much of the state of Ohio and around the Mid-American Conference. Akron's colors are blue and gold, but when the Zips host Ball State the arena will be awash in purple – the color associated with pancreatic cancer awareness.

There will be 3,000 purple "4 Pete's Sake" T-shirts in the arena for fans. Players will have a patch on their jerseys. Coaches will wear pins.