The Hoops 4 Healing Classic started 13 years ago with games featuring boys teams only. The women’s event began in 2008 and has grown each year. The event continues to attract top quality teams and is rapidly growing into one of the area’s premier basketball showcases for girls high school basketball. The teams begin the day with a brunch that will be served at the Greenbriar Conference and Party Center in Wooster.
The mission of the Hoops 4 Healing Foundation is to raise awareness of the desperate need for organ donors and to raise funds for the research to find a cure for liver disease. Hoops 4 Healing has raised more than $220,000 and has made recent donations to The Cleveland Clinic, The Mayo Clinic, and LifeBanc, as well as to several local families. In 2009 and 2010 Hoops 4 Healing partnered with PSC Partners in Denver, Colorado to fund specific research projects on PSC.
The concept of the Hoops 4 Healing Classic was generated by some unique circumstances. Nearly 13 years ago, an almost improbable occurrence created a unique bond among four people. Hal Smith of Malone College, Steve Loy of Walsh University (former head boys basketball coach at Norwayne), Bruce Brown of Uniontown Lake High School, and Chuck Cooper, former Wooster High School athletic director, were all diagnosed with a rare liver disease known as primary sclerosing cholangitis, or PSC. Since those initial assessments, and the subsequent death of NFL Hall of Fame running back Walter Payton from the same rare liver disease, their illness became national news and received the attention of people from literally around the world.
Of these original four men, Smith and Cooper eventually had transplants (Hal Smith underwent a second liver transplant, along with a kidney transplant, in October of 2008). Steve Loy’s condition developed into cholangiocarcinoma (liver cancer) and sadly he succumbed to the disease in February of 2004. Bruce Brown continues to hold his own against the disease.
The bond of a common illness, along with the four men’s shared relationship with the sport of basketball, led to the eventual development of the Hoops 4 Healing basketball games 13 years ago. The event took a one-year “road trip” to Indiana in 2005, as the high school games were played in the famous “Wigwam” Gymnasium at Anderson High School. The event has generated local and statewide media exposure over the 13 years of its existence. In 2008 the Hoops 4 Healing Classic was extended to include girls teams, with games being played at Wooster High School.
Tickets for this year’s games are on sale at each participating school. One ticket is good for all games at the same venue. All profits from the event will go toward donations for liver disease research, organ donor education and other related causes.
Schedule of Games
All games will be played at Wooster High School:
1:30 p.m. - Orrville vs Northwestern
3:15 p.m. - Smithville vs Medina Buckeye
5 p.m. - Wooster vs Lake
Published: December 1, 2011