This basketball game had so many elements of a classic match — highly skilled players, excited fans and a boys vs. girls rivalry. Dare we mention that the girls won 37 to 34?
But as thrilling as this recent 5th-grade Canton Youth Basketball Association 5th-grade travel boys vs. girls game was, it involved a much more poignant purpose — raising funds for an Avon 8th-grader battling a rare form of cancer.
Thursday night the teams collected some $500 for Hunter Miller, who in January was diagnosed with a type of osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. He is undergoing chemotherapy and will have part of his shinbone removed, require more reconstructive surgery, followed by more chemo, association officials said.
5th-grade boys coach Paul Amrose, along with Gary Burke, coached Hunter before the young boy moved to Avon.
“He’s a great kid,” Amrose said.
Amrose said Hunter’s also strong kid but it’s going to be tough year.
Amrose also thanked 5th-grade girls player Maggie First.
Maggie came up with an idea to turn the game into a charitable effort. Her father Brian remembered seeing a ribbon Amrose was wearing during a recent tournament.
It was for Hunter.
At Thursday’s game, played at Canton Intermediate School, kids carried around a collection jar for Hunter and at half time the players signed a larger banner for him that read: Get Well Soon, This game’s for you Hunter!
In addition Drew Bartkiewicz, owner of www.lettrs.com, will donate $10 for each letter of support from a Canton travel basketball player.
Hunter loves basketball and baseball and has a great sense of humor, his mother Deb wrote in a note to the players and coaches.
“Many refer to him as an old soul because of how mature and insightful he is. He has the greatest sense of humor and often has me laughing out loud at some off the cuff remark he will make or story he will share with me that he found to be hilarious.”
The family said they were also deeply thankful for the effort.
His mother upon hearing of the effort also wrote, “That would mean a lot to Hunter that these 5th graders even know who he is and raised money on his behalf. He would be so incredibly honored for that.”
"Paul tells me the game last night was a lot of fun and I am humbled that so many people are thinking of Hunter," she added Friday.