The tournament for fourth through eighth graders raises money for CURE Childhood Cancer, and this year, St. Thomas More’s sixth grade girls’ basketball team decided they wanted to do something beyond just playing ball.
“Although they’re very competitive and in it to win, they also realize it’s a fundraiser,” said Susan House, mother of one of the players, 11-year-old Loren Marie.
The students decided they wanted to do something special for Annamarie Robb, who organizes the tournament. Robb is the mother of the tournament’s namesake, Sam Robb. Sam was diagnosed with bone cancer in 2002 and died five years later at age 20 after being in remission for about four years, Robb said.
“Sam loved basketball,” she added.
House said the stories Robb would tell the players about Sam during the tournament really resonated with the girls. When they decided they wanted to do something to give back, House suggested they hold a cookie swap fundraiser.
The House family hosted the event at their home Dec. 16.
Participants came with cookies, money and appetites. Each would try the baked goods and put their dollars in the pot for the tastiest. House said the favorite cookie of the day was chocolate chocolate-chip with sea salt and the students raised about $350.
Additional donations poured in from the community following the event, she added.
“We are all proud of the girls,” she said.
The team plans to present the money to Robb sometime during the tournament, which will be held Thursday through Saturday at several different area Catholic school gymnasiums.
“We were particularly touched … that the girls thought of this as something to do,” Robb said. “It was really so sweet.”
The money raised from the cookie swap and during the tournament will help support a pediatric cancer research fellow and help provide and serve meals to hospitalized childhood cancer patients and their families.