On February 8, the Thornton Academy Girls’ Basketball program will host their third annual Hoops for Hope Charity event at Linnell Gymnasium.
Over the past two years, the Hoops for Hope event has raised nearly $50,000, including over $20,000 raised directly by the players. Thornton Academy Girls’ Basketball Head Coach Eric Marston began the program in 2015 after being inspired by his wife’s battle with cancer and the support that their family received from the community.
“With the money [Hoops for Hopes] raises, families have been able to have Christmases and Thanksgivings. So much money goes to cancer costs, there isn’t much left over,” Marston says.
History teacher Eric Marston spoke about the importance of compassion at the last Pillars assembly and highlighted the work Hoops for Hope has done to better the lives of families affected by cancer.
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 is New England Cancer Specialists. Robin Letarte is the Patient Financial Advocate with NECS and appreciates the support from Hoops for Hope.
"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. 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 says.
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 that she has made with recipients of the donations.
“We met a husband once who said that the first time that he saw his wife happy since her diagnosis was when she got her wig from Hoops to Hope. When you meet the individuals, it makes it all worth it,” Pettaway says.
Senior Alana Pettaway has participated in the Hoops for Hope campaign all three years.
There are over 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 halftime of the boys’ game.
The event will kick off at 3:30 p.m. with a scrimmage game between Saco Middle School and Thornton Academy Middle School. Following, Thornton Academy will take on Gorham for Girls’ Junior Varsity at 4:30 p.m. and Girls’ Varsity at 6:00 p.m. The last game of the night will be Boys’ Varsity at 7:30 p.m. A silent auction will be open for bidding during the middle school and girls’ games.