Neckers Gift of Giving salutes Young Hope Basketball Academy

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ROCK ISLAND, Illinois -

The Young Hope Basketball Academy is almost ready for its July 25-28 run at the PepsiCo Center.

Entering its third year, it raises money for the Erika Kate Hope Alliance.

A Muscatine family started the foundation to help others after losing their daughter to heart disease.

"Let's go," barked a coach during the 2015 camp.

Youngsters are becoming better players at the academy.

"I can make better lay-ups," said camper Fred Gay.  "I can run way faster. I can shoot more threes."

And, they're becoming better people, too.

"I like the coaches because they teach you to do your best and be a good sport," said camper Monica Mowery.

"They get to take values with them off the court, as well as learning basketball drills on the court," added Camp Coordinator Tanya Marx.

Proceeds from this basketball camp will benefit the Erika Kate Hope Alliance.

It reaches out to families and kids with life-threatening heart conditions.

A portion of July sales at Neckers will go to the Erika Kate Hope Alliance.

"Things that we think of as normal, that we take for granted, is a real hardship for some people in situations like that," Marx continued.

Boston Celtics Assistant Coach Jamie Young lost his dad to a heart attack.

"I got involved with it being a caregiver and spending time with family in hospitals," he recalled.

Coach Young will be back for a third year to share wisdom, on and off the court.

"One of the words of the day is 'gratitude,' being thankful for things and having an opportunity to pay it forward," he said.

"He's very dedicated to helping families who are in cardiac crisis with their children," Marx said.  "Heart health is very important  to all of us at the camp."

Kids from second through eighth grades will get quite a workout at the Pepsi-Co Center in Rock Island.

"It's just non-stop competition," Marx said.  "The kids come off dripping."

And, they soak up life lessons from the gym.

"Work at basketball," Young concluded.  "Get better, grow spiritually and become better individuals."

Camp fee is $100 per camper, and scholarships are available.

Check out enrollment and other information at http://www.erikakate.org