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posted: 3/8/2012 2:56 PM

Hoops for Hope event set for March 17 and 18

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Submitted by Grayslake High School District 127

Hoop fans of all ages can catch live 3-on-3 action at the second annual Hoops for Hope March 17 and 18 at Grayslake North High School.

Teams of four or more players in fifth grade and older can register now through March 10.

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All proceeds from the event go to the 12 Oaks Foundation, a nonprofit charity dedicated to helping children in families coping with cancer.

"We're excited to put on a community event during the height of hoops season that allows adults and kids to play some ball in a fun environment," said Steve Hupp, who founded 12 Oaks along with his wife, Julie.

The foundation serves as a tribute to their son, Matthew, who died of Burkitt's lymphoma in 2009 at age 13.

Matt loved playing sports and developed many of his strengths through team participation, his parents said. After his death, they decided to create a charity to help give other kids similar opportunities.

Funds raised from events like Hoops for Hope and the foundation's annual 5K race, Matt's Mile, help cover fees for sports and other programs for children in families experiencing financial hardship or long-term illness.

"Hoops for Hope not only supports a great cause, it shows what a strong community we live in," said Mark Ruhlmann, a 12 Oaks board member. "Turnout was huge last year and everyone had a really fun time."

More than 400 players and 90 teams took the court at last year's inaugural Hoops for Hope, Hupp said.

Volunteer coordinator Michelle Ptasienski also recruits about 120 volunteers to assist with court supervision, concessions and other duties during the two-day event.

Organizers group participating teams into divisions by gender and age. This year's event will also feature a three-point shooting contest and skills competition.

A 12 Oaks reversible mesh jersey is included with the entry fee of $40 per player.

For details or to register, visit www.12oaksfoundation.org.

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