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MEMPHIS, Tennessee (March 26, 2012) – When the National Basketball Association’s (NBA) biggest stars hit the court this week it won't just be the title they are playing for, but something much greater—finding a cure for childhood cancer and other deadly diseases. Around the league March 26 - 30, teams, players and fans will participate in Hoops for St. Jude™ Week, a national awareness campaign in partnership with NBA Cares that raises funds to help St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital provide the best care to the world’s sickest children at no cost to their family.
The Hoops for St. Jude ambassador roster this year includes NBA stars Dwight Howard (Orlando Magic), Dwyane Wade (Miami Heat), Kevin Love (Minnesota Timberwolves), Pau Gasol (Los Angeles Lakers), David Lee (Golden State Warriors), Rudy Gay (Memphis Grizzlies) and veteran coach George Karl (Denver Nuggets). During Hoops for St. Jude Week, the ambassadors will mobilize teammates and fans to help raise awareness and funds to support the lifesaving mission of St. Jude.
“By supporting Hoops for St. Jude, fans can help the doctors and scientists continue their lifesaving research and treatment,” said Pau Gasol, who has a background in the medical field. “A donation to St. Jude means not only saving one child’s life, but thousands of children’s lives around the world.”
The groundbreaking research of St. Jude helps kids like 14-year-old Isaac, an avid Oklahoma City Thunder fan. Isaac recently returned to the basketball court after battling a deadly brain tumor and enduring seven brain surgeries.
“Isaac’s story is one of many that demonstrate the critical need for our research and treatment,” said Richard Shadyac Jr., CEO of ALSAC/St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. “Sports are such a powerful unifier, and we are so fortunate to have our friends in the NBA and basketball fans everywhere participate in Hoops for St. Jude Week and help us continue our lifesaving research all while ensuring that no family ever pays St. Jude for anything.”
Prior to the tipoff of Hoops for St. Jude Week, several ambassadors have already been helping raise awareness for the program, and fans will have the opportunity to get involved in a variety of ways including donating at the Hoops for St. Jude website or bidding in an online auction. These programs are so critical because it costs $1.7 million a day to operate St. Jude and more than 75 percent of those funds come from the public through programs like Hoops for St. Jude.
Isaac’s family is trying to raise $5,000 during Hoops for St. Jude Week in his honor and to show their gratitude for St. Jude, and basketball fans across the country can get involved as well. Fans can join NBA Cares and the Hoops for St. Jude team and give kids like Isaac a chance to experience a lifetime of sports moments. Visit www.stjude.org/hoops to learn more, make a donation or bid in the online auction.
2012 Hoops for St. Jude Ambassador Roster
Pau Gasol, Los Angeles Lakers
Rudy Gay, Memphis Grizzlies
Dwight Howard, Orlando Magic
George Karl, Denver Nuggets Head Coach
David Lee, Golden State Warriors
Kevin Love, Minnesota Timberwolves
Dwyane Wade, Miami Heat
About St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital
Since opening 50 years ago, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital has changed the way the world treats childhood cancer and other life-threatening diseases. No family ever pays St. Jude for the care their child receives and, for every child treated here, thousands more have been saved worldwide through St. Jude discoveries. The hospital has played a pivotal role in pushing U.S. pediatric cancer survival rates from 20 to 80 percent overall, and is the first and only National Cancer Institute-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center devoted solely to children. It is also a leader in the research and treatment of blood disorders and infectious diseases in children. St. Jude was founded by the late entertainer Danny Thomas, who believed that no child should die in the dawn of life. Join that mission by visiting or following us on facebook.com/stjude and twitter.com/stjude.
About NBA Cares
NBA Cares is the league's social responsibility initiative that builds on the NBA's long tradition of addressing important social issues in the United States and around the world. Through this umbrella program, the NBA, its teams and players have donated than $175 million to charity, completed more than 1.8 million hours of hands-on community service, and created more than 675 places where kids and families can live, learn, or play, in 22 countries on five continents. NBA Cares works with internationally recognized youth-serving programs that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes, including: KaBOOM!, Special Olympics, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, UNICEF, the Make-A-Wish Foundation and the Global Business Coalition on HIV/AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis.