On January 20, 2018, the second annual Two Counties, One Cause basketball tournament will take place at Tappan Zee High School in Orangeburg, New York. This charity tournament brings together basketball teams from all over Rockland and Westchester Counties for an evening of basketball competition in the name of NF awareness. Last year, the event raised over $14,000 for NF research.
Tappan Zee High School head basketball coach George Gaine is the driving force behind the charity tournament. Coach Gaine stepped off the court to tell us what inspired him to organize this event:
Children’s Tumor Foundation: Why are you raising money and awareness for neurofibromatosis?
Coach Gaine: It is a cause that is close to home. By hosting the tournament we are making people aware of NF and educating them. Removing the mystery of illness takes away so much unease and increases understanding.
Where did the idea to host a basketball tournament come from?
Hosting a basketball tournament was an easy decision for me because I have been a high school coach for almost 20 years now. That said, what was, and still is awe-inspiring, is how the coaching community, teams, and administrators were all in from the beginning. We've grown from six teams last year to ten teams this year - and believe me, it's a big deal for teams to give up home games to play in this. The game officials donate their fees, our team and the opposing teams sell raffle tickets, and the student body and the community all get behind this effort. The response last year was humbling and appreciation beyond explanation.
What did it mean to the students who participated and learned about NF?
To replace mystery with understanding is a big deal. Not just with NF, but with anything. Teaching empathy through actions trickles to all facets of life. It's so important.
Tell us about your NF Hero.
My NF hero is a curly haired redhead with an engaging personality, a big smile and a bigger heart. She is also my daughter, Brielle, my biggest fan. She's six years old now, loves school, loves her mom and has me totally wrapped around her little finger, just like any dad and his daughter.
How did your family feel after the successful event last year?
What can we expect from the 2018 tournament?
With the increase of the number of teams we hope to continue to raise awareness, play some good games and raise more money for research.
Is there anything else you wish to add?
I really want to thank the people that have helped make this event a reality. They are the reason we are able to have this event. From the donations and the day-to-day organization and planning these community members are the engine that make it go. So I want them to know how much our family appreciates their selflessness and generosity.
For more information about the Two Counties, One Cause tournament, click here.