SACO – The Thornton Academy Girls’ Basketball program will host their third annual Hoops for Hope Charity event at Linnell Gymnasium on February 8, 2018. During the past two years, the Hoops for Hope event has raised nearly $50,000, including more than $20,000 raised directly by the players.
Head Coach Eric Marston was inspired to create the program in 2015 after watching his wife’s battle with cancer and witnessing the support their family received from the community.
“With the money, we have raised, families have been able to have Christmases and Thanksgivings,” Marston said. “So much money goes to cancer costs. Often, there isn’t much left over.”
The money raised directly benefits cancer patients and their families. This financial assistance is provided in many forms: payment of medical and utility bills, gift cards, gas cards, purchase of wigs, and other support for families while battling cancer.
One of the main recipients of the revenue raised by this event is New England Cancer Specialists.
“The incredibly generous support from Hoops for Hope has helped our patients with a variety of needs, including food, gas for transportation to appointments, help with prescriptions, and non-medical expenses like utility bills, heating bills, and car repairs,” said Robin Letarte, the patient financial advocate with NECS.
“This help means so much to each patient who receives assistance. We’re also grateful for the Hoops for Hope’s generous support of a yoga program for cancer patients, which is held in our office in Kennebunk and free for all to enjoy,” Letarte said.
There are more than 20 items in this year’s silent auction including concert tickets to Ed Sheeran, Guster, and others, Patriots tickets, a Samsung Galaxy 32 GB tablet, a skybox at a SeaDogs game, and more. Raffle and Silent Auction winners will be announced at the halftime of the boys’ game.
The event will kick off at 3:30 p.m. with a scrimmage game between Saco Middle School and the Thornton Academy Middle School. The Thornton Academy girl’s junior varsity will take on Gorham junior varsity at 4:30 p.m. and varsity teams will play at 6:00 p.m. The last game of the night will be the Boys’ varsity at 7:30 p.m. A silent auction will be open for bidding during the middle school and the girls’ games.
Players on the team look forward to the Hoops for Hope event every year. For senior Alana Pettaway it is the highlight of the basketball season. She appreciates the personal connections she has made with those who have received donations.
“We met a husband once who said the first time he saw his wife happy since her diagnosis was when she got her wig from Hoops to Hope,” Pettaway said. “When you meet the individuals, it makes it all worth it.”