Monday, July 28, 2014

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Shooting hoops for cancer patients

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Shooting hoops for cancer patients
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Almost two dozen basketball teams have traveled to Elmira to play against each other. But for this Twin Tier tournament, it's not just the friendly competition that has people excited for some hoops. Katie Husband shows us the special cause student athletes are supporting.

ELMIRA, N.Y. -- It's more than just basketball at the Southside High School. This tournament was inspired by a man who was fighting cancer.

"When I was going through, everything I was going through, I was fortunate to have their insurance, their support, my family's support, not everybody had that," said Josh Palmer, tournament director.

Palmer had a list of ideas while he was undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for Hodgkins Disease in 1999.

"Through those ideas and that time on my hands was nothing else to do, we created the Josh Palmer Fund," said Palmer.

Through 14 years, it has grown. The basketball tournament now has a record 22 teams, 24 games and lasts four days.

"And it gives the kids around this community and kids from out of town another opportunity we think to participate in some basketball for a really good cause," said Palmer.

"We're coming up to this one. We've gotten to play different teams, different competition, it's neat," said Sam Rotella, Mansfield High School boys basketball team captain.

Palmer says because the participation is up this year, they are expected to raise more than $60,000.

"It's special. And I try to remind the kids how lucky we are to be part of this," said Kipper Burleigh, Mansfield High School boys basketball team head coach.

Of course coming to any basketball tournament, the athletes get a lot of extra experience, but coming to the Josh Palmer Fund tournament, they say it's nice to give back to the community.

"Because everyone has been touched by cancer somehow and giving back to the community and raise money for cancer, it feels good," said Rotella.

"It feels good giving everything back and playing for a cause," said Taylor Hiloson, Mansfield High School boys basketball team point guard.

Helping people fight for their lives when the extra support isn't there.

"Whatever the need, reason it would be or need to be, we're there to help and that's what the event is about," said Palmer.

The tournament attracted teams from Florida to Albany and ends this Saturday.

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