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NBA family supports kids with cancer during ‘Hoops for St. Jude’ week

Campaign unites NBA coaches, players and teams in the hospital’s lifesaving work

More and more children are fighting and defeating childhood cancers and other life-threatening diseases, thanks to those who are fighting hard behind the scenes. St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is one of the leaders in saving lives of young patients. Last week, a nine-year partnership with NBA Cares once again helped create an opportunity for the NBA community to support St. Jude’s mission.

During Hoops for St. Jude Week (March 12-18), NBA teams, players and coaches created unique ways to build awareness and raise money for St. Jude. The campaign united fans and those invested in the NBA to help raise awareness and funds for children.

According to the hospital’s website, the mission of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital is to advance cures, and means of prevention, for pediatric catastrophic diseases through research and treatment. Consistent with the vision of founder Danny Thomas, no child is denied treatment based on race, religion or a family’s ability to pay. Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20 percent when the hospital opened in 1962 to more than 80 percent today.

In 2009, St. Jude and NBA Cares forged a relationship to create the Hoops for St. Jude. St. Jude is an official Community Partner of NBA Cares, the NBA’s social responsibility initiative that builds on the league’s long tradition of addressing important social issues in the United States and around the world. St. Jude is leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

All teams were encouraged by St. Jude to promote the event, in their community or in-arena and highlight the campaign online and through social media channels. A few players and coaches from around the NBA are St. Jude Ambassadors including Pau Gasol (San Antonio Spurs), Kevin Love (Cleveland Cavaliers), David Lee (San Antonio Spurs), Marc Gasol and Mike Conley (Memphis Grizzlies) and coach Rick Carlisle (Dallas Mavericks).

“I was fortunate to visit St. Jude during my rookie season and encourage NBA fans to support this great cause. I’m excited to continue my support and encourage you to join our Hoops for St. Jude team and donate to St. Jude,” Love said.

Through community support and individual donations, families never receive a bill for treatment, travel, housing or food. The organization wishes to ease family’s worries to focus on helping their child live. St. Jude freely shares the breakthroughs it makes with the public, and every child saved at St. Jude means doctors and scientists worldwide can use that knowledge to save thousands more children.

“St. Jude is making a huge impact in the world because they take families from all over the world,” said Pau Gasol. “A lot of families come here and everything is paid for and they are in great hands. It’s an amazing place.”

NBA Cares is the league’s global community outreach initiative that addresses important social issues such as education, youth and family development, and health and wellness. The NBA and its teams support a range of programs, partners and initiatives that strive to positively impact children and families worldwide.

As part of the league’s mission to demonstrate leadership in social responsibility, NBA Cares reaches communities through philanthropy, hands-on service and legacy projects. Since October 2005 when NBA Cares was launched, the league and teams have raised more than $230 million for charity, provided more than 3.9 million hours of hands-on service, and built more than 1080 places where kids and families can live, learn or play in communities around the world.

The Memphis Grizzlies will continue their campaign in March through the Grizz Assists for St. Jude platform. Led by St. Jude Ambassadors Mike Conley and Marc Gasol, the campaign will place a dollar amount on each recorded Grizzlies team assists during games through March 31.

Currently, the Grizzlies are averaging 21.1 assists a game. Conley and Gasol tipped off the campaign with some friendly competition, pledging to each donate $25 per team assist made.

The support of NBA stars, coaches, broadcasters and fans helps St. Jude continue leading the way the world understands, treats and defeats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases.

Kelley Evans is a digital producer at Andscape. She is a food passionista, helicopter mom and an unapologetic Southerner who spends every night with the cast of The Young and the Restless by way of her couch.