Last year, the Bouncin’ Cancer basketball event spearheaded by Nixyaawii athletic director Aaron Noisey nearly came to an end due to a lack of interest from other teams.
But now as the event prepares for its 11th annual fundraiser, it will continue a promise Noisey made after his own families experience with cancer.
Beginning Dec. 28, the two-day event will feature a handful of local high schools with all the proceeds from ticket sales, raffle items, etc., going to Your Friend Pamela Faye — an organization that helps family members with gas, meals, hotels as they or family members fight cancer.
The American Cancer Society estimated 1,688,780 new cases diagnosed and more than 600,000 deaths to cancer in the United States in 2017. While millions of dollars are raised to fund cancer research, there is also a great need for financial assistance with non-medical expenses while these battles are being waged — something that Noisey knows all too well.
In 1985, his mother was diagnosed with cancer. For treatment, she stayed in a hospital a great distance away from Noisey, his stepfather and siblings. During his mothers fight, the family never had the opportunity to be together.
The cost of gas, motels and the time that needed to be taken off work for the many visits they would make, added up. So, Noisey and his brothers had to take turns seeing their mother. She passed away in August of that year.
“There were times when no one would be with my mom,” Noisey said. “Part of the reason I got started (with Bouncin’ Cancer) is because I want to do everything I can do to make sure someone who’s going through this can still be a family.”
The event began in 2008 between Echo and Nixyaawii with local businesses sponsoring the event by way of donations and raffle baskets, and since then more than $60,000 has been raised.
A feat, Noisey said, wouldn’t be possible without the overwhelming community support.
“We’ve seen a great benefit,” he said. “It doesn’t matter if we raised $2 or $2,000, anything we get benefits the community.”
Your Friend Pamela Faye assists families within the Northwest — Washington, Idaho and Oregon — and has partnered with Bouncin’ Cancer for the past five years.
Each year, Noisey receives a break down of where and what the donations have gone and been used for.
“It’s too bad the circumstances we’re raising money for,” he said. “Hopefully one day there won’t be a need for it.”
But for now, Noisey will continue his efforts and do his best to give families who are going through on of the most difficult times of their lives, the chance to be just that: a family.
Helix, Echo, Nixyaawii, South Wasco County, Ione, Trout Lake (WA) all playing. Admission $5 for adults, $3 students, seniors and children 5 and under free. Volunteer opportunities are available, and businesses are still welcome to join the cast of sponsors.
Echo vs. Ione, Noon/1:30 p.m.
Helix vs. Trout Lake, 3/4:30 p.m.
Nixyaawii vs. South Wasco, 6/7:30 p.m.
Trout Lake vs. Echo, Noon/1:30 p.m.
Ione vs. Nixyaawii, 3/4:30 p.m.
South Wasco vs. Helix, 6/7:30 p.m.
Contact Alexis or Eric at firstname.lastname@example.org or 541-966-0818. Follow them on Twitter @almansanarez and @ByEricSinger.