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National Organization Gets Big Help From Small Area Town

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It's a little town with a big mission.

On March 22nd, 2013, a 6pm "tip off" kicked off Camanche, Iowa's 24th annual basketball tournament, which raises money and awareness for the Muscular Dystrophy Association. The small community of about 5,000 has raised more than $356,000 over the years, designating their fundraisers as the biggest fundraising event per capita in eastern Iowa for MDA.

"It just keeps growing," says Cheryl Paasch, the event's chair.

The mini "March Madness" started small in 1990. Today, the tournament is a tradition with players coming in from as far as Nebraska and Wisconsin.

"I started playing about 22 years ago," says Mark Vanzuiden.

"I've probably been doing it 15 years," says Brook Viktor.

Their inspiration to play sits on the sidelines. Joshua and Jason Paasch were diagnosed with Muscular Dystrophy when they were just nine years old.

"In the beginning they would play on their junior high team and their teammates were super," says Cheryl, their mom. "They would make a point to get Jason and Joshua into the game because they knew that they wanted to play."

Joshua and Jason are the weekend's reminders of what this event is all about, having fun while helping others, and being proud of the big things a little community can do.

"It's a really good time and a great cause," says Brook.

"It's a heck of a cause and I'll continue to be a part of it as long as they have it," says Mark.

"Camanche should be very proud of themselves," says Cheryl. "It does our family a lot of good to be able to be a part of this and to feel the love and warmth that the community and the people bring to this event. It's very inspiring."

The basketball tournament has grown into an even bigger event that takes place Saturday, March 23rd, 2013. A hog roast starts at 4pm and also includes a silent auction, cake auction, basket raffles, and their popular "kiss the pig" contest. It takes place at Imperial Lanes, 1823 S. Washington Blvd., Camanche, Iowa.