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March Madness Benefits Breast Cancer

March Madness is coming to Poughkeepsie with the The 11th Annual Hoops for Hope Women’s and Men’s Basketball Tournament benefiting the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation on Sunday, March 20, 2016, at the McCann Recreation Center at Marist College in Poughkeepsie.

Hoops for Hope is a 3 on 3 charity basketball tournament with a mission to raise funds for the Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation. There are competitive and non-competitive divisions. (photo)

“The women participating in this tournament range from former UCONN all-stars to moms inspired by their athletic children, to those playing in support of a friend or loved one,” explained Pari Forood, Executive Director of Miles of Hope. “It is a fun day with everyone benefiting from exercise in the bleak mid-winter. I urge any and all women who are bored with the treadmill at the gym to come play basketball with us and register a team on line at milesofhope.org.”
Miles of Hope Foundation Co-Founder Cathy Varunok said: “All of the sports competitions that we sponsor are designed to be a friendly message emphasizing the benefits of exercise to all women. The Family Fun 5K Run on April 23, Goals for Hope Women’s Soccer Tournament in July, Hits for Hope Women’s Softball Tournament in October, and this basketball tournament are not about winning or losing but about participating and recognizing that we can be proactive about our health.”
“Minimum team size at Hoops is 3 players and registration is only $200 which covers all fees and represents a donation to Miles of Hope. Registration covers up to 6 players; the fee for additional players is $25 each and registration ends March 11,” explained Tournament Committee member Cathy Weir.
Shannon Leddy, whose mother is a 33 year cancer survivor and was honored at Hoops for Hope 2009, has been a volunteer for Miles of Hope for 11 years: “Joining the Hoops Committee back in 2008 seemed a natural fit because I was a basketball player in high school and loved the idea of an athletic tournament that promoted teamwork, activity and good health while also honoring amazing women.”
Each year Hoops for Hope is dedicated to an individual who exemplifies the spirit of our event. 2016 Hoops for Hope Honoree is Kate Briskey from Hyde Park, NY. She graduated from Our Lady of Lourdes High School-where she played basketball- and then Marist College with a CIS degree. Kate married her husband of 33 years, Ken (her high school sweetheart) and raised their four children, Ben, Dan, Emily, and Elizabeth, as a stay-at-home mom also in Hyde Park. Kate and Ken now have two grandchildren, Lena and Felix, and one on the way!

In May 2015, two months after finding a lump in her breast, Kate was diagnosed with stage one breast cancer. This was less than two weeks after she lost her beloved mom, Jane Eckelman, to breast cancer. Her mom had been diagnosed just four months prior.

An athlete and self-described “caregiver,” Kate loves to entertain and do for others, as well as spend time with her family and grandkids. She picked up a basketball 20 years after graduating from Lourdes and played in the Casperkill Women’s League, which led to her participation in the Hoops for Hope Tournament for the past many years. Her brother has also participated all these years as a referee!

Kate says she was fortunate to find her lump early making her a shining example of the importance of self-examination and early detection. Still, given her active lifestyle and age, she never thought she would get cancer. “I have always eaten well, exercised and taken care of my health. Anyone can get cancer. It behooves us to do all we can to be healthy, but we also can’t live in fear of cancer or illness.”

For more information: milesofhope.org or contact Tournament Director, Jen Oppenheim at hoops.milesofhope@gmail.com.  
The Miles of Hope Breast Cancer Foundation is a 501-c-3 non-profit public charity with a mission to fund support services for people affected by breast cancer within the Hudson Valley, NY.
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