“If anybody gets out of here without any broken bones or bloody noses, it’s a win,” says Representative Bill McCamley (D – Dona Ana). McCamley isn’t talking about the latest legislative session. He’s talking about last year’s “Hoops 4 Hope” basketball game in which he played. The game raises money for the University of New Mexico Cancer Center.
Players measure success differently in this game than in other hotly-contested basketball games. “I’m here to help support the [UNM] Cancer Center,” says Senator John C. Ryan (R – Bernalillo & Sandoval). “This charity event is fun. It raises a little bit of money. And any part I can play in that I’m happy — happy to do it.”
Instead of dividing along party lines, the legislature divides into the House “Aggies” and the Senate “Lobos” for the game. This division gives the legislators a chance to know people from the other party. Last year, in a surprise upset, the Senate Lobos narrowly beat the House Aggies, 26 to 24.
“The ‘Hoops 4 Hope’ event is fun for everyone involved, but it is also an important source of support for the UNM Cancer Center,” says Cheryl Willman, MD, UNM Cancer Center Director & CEO. She adds, “The proceeds help us to deliver the cutting-edge, compassionate care that all New Mexicans deserve.” Over 10,000 New Mexicans were diagnosed with cancer in 2014, according to American Cancer Society estimates. That number highlights the importance of this event.
The UNM Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of the state of New Mexico and the only National Cancer Institute designated cancer center in the state. It is tasked with ensuring that all New Mexicans have access to world-class cancer care and benefit from advances in cancer research. The UNM Cancer Center raises money for cancer research and treatment from national and state grant programs and from private donations. The “Hoops for Hope” basketball game has been an important source of private donations for more than 15 years. Last year’s game raised almost $22,000, bringing the total amount the game has raised since 2007 to almost $125,000.
Says Willman, “We are deeply grateful to New Mexico’s legislators for their steadfast commitment to fighting cancer in our state.”
The “Hoops 4 Hope” legislative basketball game will be played Wednesday, March 4, 2015, in the Santa Fe High School Gymnasium, 2100 Yucca Street, Santa Fe, NM 87505. Tip-off is at 7:00 p.m. Tickets are $5 at the door or in advance in Room 134 of the Capitol. For questions, contact Billy Gupton at 505-730-0341. All proceeds benefit the UNM Cancer Center. For a video of interviews and highlights from last year’s game, visit https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWwf3Pu8l78.
The UNM Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of New Mexico and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center in the state. One of just 68 premier NCI-Designated Cancer Centers nationwide, the UNM Cancer Center is recognized for its scientific excellence; contributions to cancer research; delivery of high quality, state of the art cancer diagnosis and treatment to all New Mexicans; and its community outreach programs statewide. Annual federal and private funding of more than $72 million supports the UNM Cancer Center’s research programs. The UNM Cancer Center treats more than 60 percent of the adults and virtually all of the children in New Mexico affected by cancer, from every county in the state. It is home to New Mexico’s largest team of board-certified oncology physicians and research scientists, representing every cancer specialty and hailing from prestigious institutions such as M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, and the Mayo Clinic. Through its partnership with Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, the UNM Cancer Center brings world-class cancer care to the southern part of the state; its collaborative clinical programs in Santa Fe and Farmington serve northern New Mexico and it is developing new collaborative programs in Alamogordo and in Roswell/Carlsbad. The UNM Cancer Center also supports several community outreach programs to make cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment available to every New Mexican. Learn more at www.cancer.unm.edu.