From July 28th through August 1st, Rock Island’s PepsiCo Center will be packed with kids playing basketball.
But the week-long academy will be about much more than getting better on the court.
“I got involved in [the Erika Kate Hope Alliance] a couple years ago, just being a caregiver, spending time with families in hospitals,” Jamie Young told News 8 this week.
Young is an assistant coach for the Boston Celtics, in the Quad Cities this month to host the the Young Hope Basketball Academy for boys and girls from 2nd through 8th grades.
“We’re just trying to provide an opportunity for kids to learn fundamentals of basketball and have a good time,” he said, “and at the same time give back to the Erika Kate foundation.”
That foundation, now called the Erika Kate Hope Alliance, is named after Erika Kate Maynard. The Muscatine girl was diagnosed with restrictive cardiomyopathy when she was just three-and-a-half years old. She and her parents traveled back-and-forth to the East Coast for care and treatment, and eventually she got a heart transplant. Tragically, there were complications down the road and Erika Kate died at the age of five. In the wake of her loss, her parents and family pledged to help others in similar situations to cover the financial and emotional costs for cardiac families– they’ve helped more than 500 families since.
“It’s something that’s kind of close to my heart, losing my dad to a heart procedure,” Young said. “He had a heart attack and it’s just an opportunity for me to give back and use the platform that I have available to me to pay it forward.”
Necker’s Jewelers is helping as well, pitching it a portion of all proceeds all July to help through their ongoing Gift of Giving campaign.
If you’d like to suggest a deserving charity to possibly receive proceeds from the Gift of Giving program, contact Lisa Short by email at email@example.com.