KINGMAN - Kingman Academy will hold its Fourth Annual Hoops for Hope cancer awareness event Saturday. The school hopes to raise close to $10,000 for the Kingman Cancer Care Unit.
This year the Hoops for Hope Classic will also hold a special meaning for KAHS, as founder and director Betty Rowe is currently battling cancer.
"For us this year, she has been on everyone's mind," said KAHS Athletic Director Shawn Byrne. "I think everyone has been touched by (cancer), unfortunately."
The event was originally scheduled for last week, when the KAHS basketball teams were scheduled to play South Ridge. South Ridge forfeited rather than travel to Kingman.
Instead, the school will host an all-day basketball event that will begin with the girls and boys junior varsity teams hosting Orme starting at 1 p.m. The boys varsity team will then have a double-header with Estrella beginning at 4 p.m., followed by the KAHS girls basketball team playing against members of the community, including KAHS faculty, local city league players and Molly Tuter, who played for Arizona State and for the Phoenix Mercury of the WNBA.
"I think at first it put a damper on it - it was almost like a punch to the gut," Byrne said of South Ridge's forfeit. "But we recovered and now we have to make this Saturday a go."
Last year KAHS raised just under $5,000, with most of the money coming from T-shirt sales and raffling off gift baskets. Two years ago the school raised $6,500.
"It's for a good cause," said boys basketball coach Bryant Morrison, who is participating in his first Hoops for Hope Classic. "We are trying to raise $10,000 and it's not for our school, it's not for kids' uniforms or for next year. It's for cancer. They take pride in it."
Every year there are 2.7 million new cases of cancer diagnosed in the U.S. and about 53,000 new cases in Arizona. As the numbers go up, so does the support for events such as Saturday's.
Byrne isn't surprised to see the support from a community that rallied around John Bathauer during his fight with cancer last year.
"It's almost typical of Kingman," Byrne said. "When something takes place, the community does a good job of rallying around,"
The KCCU was formed 34 years ago and assists patients with expenses that go beyond the cost of medical care. The organization helps patients with transportation, hotels and meals that are part of getting to medical appointments, and also helps with health equipment needs.
"Its huge to give money to the foundation," Morrison said. "This school takes pride in that and we are doing everything we can to fundraise. I hear it's a great night, so I'm looking forward to it."