Hoops Program Encourages Students to Help Kids with Cancer 2

Blue Valley Southwest chemistry and anatomy/physiology teacher Dr. Chris Jenson came up with an idea that has blossomed into a great fundraiser for young cancer victims and research.

“It’s absolutely devastating for parents and loved ones to see their child diagnosed with cancer,” says Jenson. “There is nothing better, in my humble opinion, than kids helping kids.” Jenson came up with the idea of Hoops for Hope with students at BVSW during the 2010-11 school year, the first year that BVSW was open.

“Hoops for Hope works to inspire young adults and provide them with a venue where they can support families with limited finances and fund legitimate pediatric cancer research,” says Jenson.

What is Hoops for Hope?

“Students work with friends to design a team theme and costume idea to participate in a non-competitive four-on-four basketball tournament,” BVSW student Rachel Sorcher says. “Prizes are given to the teams with the most creativity and enthusiasm.”

The event is held in early November just before the start of the high school basketball season.

“Every year, more and more students and staff participate,” says BVSW student Megan Price. “We are excited for Blue Valley High and Blue Valley West to join Southwest this year.”

“This year, all schools will join together for a common finals night which includes a celebrity shootout, games and spirit competitions,” adds student Jessica Sorcher.

“This year, each Blue Valley school will run the event Nov. 10-11,” says Jacob Marshall, a student at BVHS. “The common finals night will be Nov. 12 at Blue Valley Southwest.”

It takes time to get ready for the event.

“Each year, the Hoops for Hope Committee begins planning and working six to eight months in advance to organize the big ideas along with the fine details,” says Price. “From the corporate sponsors, to the color of the event t-shirts, every detail is just as important to make the event successful. The Blue Valley schools also organize a music video at Children’s Mercy Hospital with the help of each school’s TV crew to spread the word about the event and generate further community support.”

What are the goals for the event?

“We hope to reach our goal of 800 students and staff this year,” says BVSW student Maddie Allen. “Additionally we have partnered with The V Foundation in hopes of crushing kid cancer nationwide.”

The V Foundation was founded by ESPN College Basketball Analyst Dick Vitale to raise funds for pediatric cancer research.

“Our goal is to expand Hoops for Hope both within the Kansas City community and nationally,” says BVW student Ally McGill. “We enjoy funding the fight for local families, while at the same time supporting Dick Vitale’s mission to raise $2 million a year for pediatric cancer research.”

The event raises money for a good cause, but also gives something to the young people involved.

“We enjoy celebrating with our cancer survivors and the Children’s Mercy staff,” says Price.

Program founder Dr. Chris Jenson is excited about 2015.

“In 2015, we were extended an exciting offer through Dick Vitale to partner with his organization,” says Jenson. “We are thrilled about this partnership and hope to spread our model to high schools and universities around the nation.” Jenson is also pleased with the alliance with Children’s Mercy Hospital and Clinics.

“We feel grateful for the support and assistance from Children’s Mercy and enjoy a unique relationship where hospital staff, administrators, families and students work together to produce promo videos to fund the fight against childhood cancer. As such, the original schools still retain a percentage of our donations for families struggling to afford their child’s cancer care at Children’s Mercy.”

To learn more or to register for the event, visit HoopsForHopeUSA.com.