Greg Scott, head basketball coach for the Colonels, said the tournament, which will feature four girls teams and four boys squads, will “raise money for a cause that many of us are affected by somehow, family or friend.”
Scott said cancer has touched the lives of many Bartow County residents and the tournament will help teach youngsters a valuable lesson about helping others.
“It gives us a chance to teach our kids how lucky and fortunate they are to be healthy, to be able to participate in sports, and to be able to give back to those that are less fortunate or not as lucky,” he said. “We get to play for other reasons those two nights. I think we have a school and faculty that will embrace this, and a community that will support our efforts to help others.”
Girls teams involved will be Cass, Coosa, Trion and Paulding County. Boys teams featured include Cass, Newton, West Forsyth and Paulding County.
Scott said gate proceeds for both days will go to the American Cancer Society.
“Our intentions are to recognize cancer survivors and to have luminaries for people to purchase for loved ones or friends that have passed on,” he said. “We will have T-shirts for people to purchase and part of those proceeds will go to the Cancer Society as well. Randy Isbell of Steel Kooking BBQ will be on site cooking BBQ for those who want to mix in some good food with our games.”
John F. Harper, Bartow County School Superintendent, said the event should help raise awareness about the disease and its effect on Bartow County residents.
“Two of our principals are cancer survivors,” Harper said.
The school official said cancer survivors show how significant medical advances have been made in the treatment of the disease through the years.
“It’s such a pervasive illess, and we need to continue to raise funds to help find a cure,” he said.
He noted community members will have several ways to raise money. “We will raise money through the gate and our concession stands. We probably will be accepting donations as well.”
Gretchen Barkley said some proceeds will give Bartow patients access to cancer services through her organization.
Barkley, senior community manager, American Cancer Society, said from Jan. 1 through March 31, 53 patients have contacted the American Cancer Society for cancer information or services.
She said cancer victims may call 1-800-227-2345 24/7 to learn about those services.
“We’ve got Hope Lodge where people can stay if they are being treated in Atlanta,” she said. “We have four patients from Bartow who have spent 113 nights at the lodge.”
She said in addition, the organization has provided gas cards to 13 people who’ve used them to get to and from treatment.
“We also have a program in which patients are driven by volunteers to and from treatment,” she said. “We have had two patients use that and it’s covered 11 trips so far.
“We’ve had patients receive free wigs due to hair loss because of treatment. Two of our patients have participated in this program, which helps them look good and feel better.”
Barkley said there are makeovers for women going through cancer treatment.
“These are services that are provided free to Bartow residents,” she stressed.
Among the people involved in the program are Mike Nelson, Cass principal; Rick Casko, Cass athletic director; Jessica Wilson, Cass art teacher, responsible for the artwork on shirts; Michelle Herring, Cass media specialist; Kevin McQuilken, community manager, American Cancer Society; Tom Shinall, Cass graduate, co-founder of the Tom and Chad Show; Jamie Horton, Cass girls basketball coach; Randy Isbell, Steel Kooking BBQ.