Teens Raise Big Money For Research

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The annual Hoops For Harrison basketball charity event was another big success, raking in almost $7,000 to benefit the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America (CCFA). This year’s event, once again organized by North Shore High School juniors Jagger Gillman and Ethan Bradford, was a three-on-three basketball tournament as opposed to the clinics they hosted the prior two years, a format that attracted 23 teams of kids from Great Neck to Oyster Bay.

“Everyone had a really good time,” said Gillman. “It ran smoothly.”

“The parents and coaches were really excited and involved,” added Bradford. “I thought it was great.”

Held at the Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center in East Hills on Sunday, Jan. 17, the third annual Hoops for Harrison brought together two things the 16-year-old cousins are both passionate about: basketball and finding a cure for Crohn’s disease, which Gillman’s eighth-grade brother, Harrison, suffers from. The boys have experienced firsthand the perils of the disease and made a commitment as high school freshmen to take on the task of organizing a fundraiser to raise money for research. The first year’s clinic brought in a little more than $2,000 while last year’s raised a little more than $4,000, money that all goes directly to the CCFA.

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The group of volunteers for the Hoops for Harrison basketball tournament; Harrison Gillman is pictured front and center

The tournament was divided into two time slots, with third- to fifth-graders playing for the first two hours and sixth- to eighth-graders heading to the courts for the later part of the day. They had 15 volunteers as referees and they worked the schedules out so that all teams played at least three or four games.

As the event has gotten bigger, the teens have been able to get more support from community members and local businesses; as a result, participants, team winners, raffle winners and silent auction winners all left with something special. Prizes included a water bottle filled with candy donated by the CCFA, a signed Graig Nettles baseball, $100 gift certificate for Glenn Bradford Fine Jewelry, Mike Piazza plaque with picture and baseball card, Equinox memberships, a Phil Mickelson signed picture and a John Starks signed jersey and signed photograph. Modell’s donated 15 percent off coupons to all participants and Stop & Shop donated refreshments.

Though the teens will be thinking about graduation next year, there is no question as to whether Hoops For Harrison will continue next year; it has become a family tradition.

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