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."