Jul 24, 2007 Erin Smith Uncategorized
Stacy Huntington is on the front lines in the fight against breast cancer.
After giving birth to her daughter at 31, the Baldwinsville woman was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy and radiation treatment. After a left mastectomy procedure and reconstruction, Huntington is now a five-year survivor of the disease.
But her fight against breast cancer is far from over. In fact, Huntington, along with a committee of others affected by the disease, has organized an annual basketball tournament that raises money to help find a cure, aptly titled Hoops for the Cure.
Love of hoops
It all started when Huntington’s husband, Al, built a basketball court, almost full size with glass basketball hoops, in their backyard for their 6-year-old daughter, Molly, and Huntington, who was a former high school and college ball player who also became a JV girls’ coach at Cato-Meridian High School.
“Being a survivor and having a court, it became very clear what I had to do,” Huntington said. “Talking with my best friend Jean (Dudley), who is also a former basketball player, we joked about the court and having our own tournament at my house. That idea evolved into what is now known as the Hoops for the Cure.”
Huntington said the lack of basketball tournaments, combined with her own celebration of life and love of basketball, made sense. She and Dudley began forming a committee that included Stacy’s cousin, Gail Duger of Baldwinsville. Duger was enthusiastic about the opportunity from the get go and helped the group join forces with one of central New York’s most recognized and successful breast cancer foundations.
“We started researching information about breast cancer and sought out the Carol M. Baldwin Foundation. We spoke with Beth Kuchler, who is Carol’s daughter, and then everything just fell into place,” Duger said. “The one thing that really caught my eye was that all the money we raise through our event stays local for research.”
First year’s success
Hoops For The Cure became a reality last year, raising more than $4,000. The event included 12 teams with 11 male teams and one female team.
“We had great prizes and raffles thanks to all of our sponsors and local businesses,” Duger said. “Without them we would not have been as successful.”
This year, the event has more than 25 sponsors including P&C Foods, Baldwinsville Chiropractic, Express Rentals, Huntington Insurance Agency, Jiffy Construction Inc., Jreck Subs, New York Hair Salon and Ventre Hardwood Flooring.
Although last year’s tournament was for adults only, this year the committee would like to expand the tournament to offer youth a chance to participate and compete. Plus, being a coach, Huntington said it is a great chance for kids to sharpen their skills in the off-season.
“Our focus is to raise awareness and funds for research, but we also hope to see more youth involvement — kids having fun through basketball while educating themselves about breast cancer and all other forms of cancer,” Duger added.
Hoops For the Cure is a 3-on-3 men’s (boys) and women’s (girls) charity basketball tournament to benefit the Carol M. Baldwin Breast Cancer Research Fund of CNY, Inc. The second annual tournament will be held at Onondaga Community College Gymnasium Aug. 11 and 12. Registration and sign-in begins at 8:30 a.m. and play begins at 10 a.m. both days. Pre-registration is not required, but is recommended.
The registration fee is $25 per player or $50 in pledges per player. Teams may include up to four players maximum with men, women or co-ed. Adults ages 18 and older will compete Saturday and youth ages 14 to 17 years old will compete Sunday. Prizes will be distributed to the winners and refreshments will be available for purchase. Raffles and games of chance will also add the to the fun.
“Let’s hope that we can find a cure for this disease and my daughter does not have to go through what I did — the chemo/radiation and the fear of it coming back,” Huntington said. “I need to help her and other victims of this disease. Also, I want to show that breast cancer touches everyone and that is doesn’t always end in tragedy.”
For more information, games, rules and registration forms, visit HoopsForTheCure.com or call 635-0179.