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High-school Hoops for Hope inspired by Yow

A match-up between Apex High School and Athens Drive High School honored N.C. State Coach Kay Yow for her battle against breast cancer.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — A match-up between Apex High School and Athens Drive High School on Friday night was the centerpiece of a Hoops for Hope fund raiser in Raleigh.

It was the second year the event has raised money for breast cancer research.

Blair Williams, a sophomore basketball player at Athens Drive High, helped create the event, which included a silent auction and a sale of all things pink – the universal color for breast cancer awareness.

Blair chose to base her graduation project on North Carolina State University women’s basketball coach Kay Yow's annual Hoops for Hope, a fund raiser for a cure for breast cancer. Blair's mother and grandmother are both breast cancer survivors.

Blair said the project was inspired by the courage of Yow, who was in the hospital battling a recurrence of breast cancer the night the game and fund raiser took place.

“It’s a little more personal to me this year,” Blair said on Friday night. “I know she is having trouble right now. I know that she can fight through it."

The morning after the game, Yow passed away at WakeMed in Cary, according to a university spokeswoman. She had taken a leave of absence on Jan. 6 and was to miss the remainder of her team’s season.

Blair’s mother, Susan Williams, believes Yow’s brave battle against breast cancer raised awareness and money that can one day lead to a cure for the disease.

“Last year, pretty much everyone that came bought a shirt, a bracelet or something like that. We’ve had a ton of people come up and just said, ‘Here’s a check, I don’t want anything,’” Williams said.

With the support of the Apex team, Blair said she hopes to hold the high-school level Hoops for Hope every year until her graduation. At each one, she will don Number 12 for Athens Drive's Lady Jags.

The third college-level Hoops for Hope will be held Sunday, Feb. 15, when the Wolfpack takes on Virginia at Reynolds Coliseum.

The first Hoops for Hope, at a N.C. State game against Boston College, raised more than $43,000 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation for Breast Cancer Research.


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