Midland Hoops Squads and Team Jack Foundation Help Raise Funds for Pediatric Cancer
Midland University’s men’s and women’s basketball programs teamed up with the Team Jack Foundation to help raise awareness and research funds in the fight against pediatric cancer. More than 160 boys and girls in kindergarten through eighth grade took part in a free clinic on January 7th at the Wikert Event Center, and were also invited to attend Midland’s contests the following afternoon against Morningside University. Donations raised from the two days totaled more than $4,300.
“Our program is always looking for ways to be part of something bigger than ourselves,” Midland men’s basketball coach Oliver Drake said. “It’s a great way for us to raise awareness on pediatric cancer.”
Drake and his family are very aware of the impact of pediatric cancer. Their daughter, Stella, was diagnosed with a tumor in May of 2020. After surgery, Stella is doing well and continues to receive routine scans to monitor the tumor’s growth. “It’s personal to me, but it should be personal to everyone because pediatric cancer is severely under-funded,” Drake said. “These kids deserve to live fulfilling lives, and we’ve got to do our part to make people aware. If we can play a small role in helping raise awareness and research funds, it’s a win-win for everyone.”
He also believes it’s important for players in his program to understand the value of helping others. “One of our core values is thankfulness, and it’s never too early in your life to be thinking about what you should be thankful for,” he said. “It’s important to have perspective and walk in other people’s shoes and honor others who don’t get to do what we do. We need to use our sport to learn about other things in life and attack the opportunities we have.”
The clinic featured players and coaches from both programs working with young athletes on the fundamentals of basketball, along with having plenty of fun along the way. Drake viewed the clinic as an opportunity for everyone involved to learn something about the game of basketball and themselves.
“It was good for our players to be on the other side, and teaching is a great way to learn,” he said. “It was fun seeing our players devoting time and energy to kids they don’t know and giving back to a game that has given so much to them. It helps them develop a sense of thankfulness that will help spur them to greatness beyond their four years at Midland.”