Annual wheelchair basketball game supports St. Joseph’s Center

Annual+wheelchair+basketball+game+supports+St.+Joseph%27s+Center

Dave Scarnato, Sports Co-Editor

Basketball teams wheel in cash for a great cause.

The Annual Wheelchair Basketball game between the Marywood Men’s and Women’s basketball programs versus the Allied Forces Wheelchair Basketball team was held on March 24 in the Inslaco Arena at the Melow Center at Marywood University. This particular fundraiser began five years ago and has been adopted by the Marywood community.

What started off as a University 100 class project has become a popular annual event held at Marywood. Kevin Kuna, assistant director of student support services here at Marywood, was the instructor that started the event and has taken responsibility for organizing the evening of hoops ever since the first game five years ago.

“We had to do a project and I always wanted to do something like this,” Kuna said. “The event does service to the community and spreads spinal cord awareness.”

The event is held at the Mellow Center with various activities other than just basketball. Basket raffles, wheelchair equipment displays, and posters promoting awareness of spinal cord injuries fill the hallways upon entrance to the Insalaco Arena. All proceeds benefit Saint Joseph’s Center, a facility that houses and cares for people with special and severe needs. Kuna knows that the money raised is going to an excellent facility.

“St. Joseph’s Center is our neighbor,” said Kuna. “They are a tight-knit community like Marywood and they have strong moral values.”

Watching the event grow from a simple class project is one of the rewards given in all of the hard work Kuna and volunteer students contribute in planning the event.

“The event has been ongoing and has gotten bigger every year,” Kuna stated. “It is nice to watch the faculty and student community come together for one night and for a great cause.”

Just last year, the event raised the most money and had the biggest crowd in its existence. Besides helping a great cause, the event displays a different style of basketball.

Wheelchair basketball is one of the most popular sports played by disabled athletes. There are many leagues in the country and, for a disabled athlete, there is hope that he/she can continue a competitive athletic career. Brent Keyes Senior History and Secondary Education Major and captain of the Men’s Basketball team said that a wheelchair basketball game is the same game, but a harder work out.

“It is definitely a good work out,” Keyes said. “Since the use of your legs is out, you have to rely on your arms for everything. Your arms have to be able to handle a shot while pushing your wheelchair. I admire athletes that do this competitively. It is hard, but again, playing in this game is rewarding.”

For Keyes, winning the game is not important, it is all for the fundraising and for the life lessons this game teaches.

“For one night, I get to play the game I love and raise money for charity, while getting a different perspective on life,” Keyes said. There is truly nothing greater.”

The sixth annual Wheelchair Basketball game has packed a punch in the Marywood community. With the ongoing popularity the game has gained throughout the years here at Marywood, the fundraiser is no doubt a tradition in the Marywood community.