The inaugural Hoops of Hope Charity Classic, a one-day, three-on-three basketball tournament held Saturday at Britannia secondary, raised more than $3,000 for families affected by cancer.
By the end of this week, the final tally will grow even larger. Supporters are still making donations, and one big-ticket item — a signed Steve Nash L.A. Lakers jersey donated by Basketball B.C. — remains on the auction block until Aug. 31.
The opening bid started at $100 and had tripled by Monday afternoon. Interested buyers can check out the item on Ebay. The entirety of the winning bid will be donated to Camp Goodtimes, a summer camp for families with children and teenagers who have cancer. Hosted at Loon Lake in Maple Ridge, Camp Goodtimes is free for campers.
A number of players, coaches and organizers well respected in Lower Mainland basketball circles inspired Hoops of Hope, said tournament co-founder Mitra Tshan.
“We’ve had a lot of people in the basketball community struggle with the disease,” she said. “We’ve dedicated each hoop, every hoop was named after someone who has survived or who is dealing with or who has died of cancer.”
One hoop was dedicated to Tessa Beauchamp, a well-liked and talented basketball player from Surrey who died of a rare, incurable cancer — but not before competing with an eye patch and the inability to hear in one ear. A second hoop was dedicated to Hazel Bauzon, known as Tita Hazen (tita means auntie in Tagalog), who survuved breast cancer and is the mother of the tournament co-founder Christina Bauzon. A third hoop was dedicated to Ellen Lloyd, who in February was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
The fourth hoop is dedicated to Julian and Victoria Villadiego. After four surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation, Victoria Villadiego finished treatment for breast cancer only last week.
Her daughter Jessica Villadiego told part of her story: “The chemotherapy made her extremely ill all the time. But the kind of person that she is, she was still the loudest fan in the stands during my basketball games and she still had the energy to jump up and down whenever I scored. We were nearing the end of my mom’s chemotherapy treatments and we couldn’t be happier.”
Shortly after, in November last year, Jessica’s father Julian Villadiego was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The Britannia staff member of 35 years was scheduled for a bone marrow transplant Tuesday.
“It was a shock to my family that both my parents now have cancer. It’s tough to really think about it, but if you met them and just felt their positive spirit, you would just know it would all be OK,” wrote Jessica on the Hoops of Hope website.
The tournament preceeds and $350 from the concession directly supported the families. Tshan said Britannia will host Hoops of Hope next summer and in years after that to raise support for important causes.
“Whether it’s for cancer or homelessness, I think it’s important for our kids to give back to the community," she said.
Sixteen teams of young men and women registered to compete in the three-on-three charity classic with many athletes drawing from the Bruins and Britannia and the Strathcona Women's Basketball League.
This story was corrected Aug. 27.
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