Hoops Aid 2017
Posted: 19th May 2017
The comeback kid- cancer survivor makes a winning return to the basketball court
On the 14th of May 2017, the O2 arena played host to a sporting sensation; Hoops Aid.
At the 4th annual celebration of diversity in sports, an audience of over 14,000 people watched two thrilling basketball games featuring celebrities and sportspeople including Ade Adepitan, British television presenter and wheelchair basketball player, former England goalie David James, actor Colin Salmon and Mica McNeill, a member of the GB Bobsleigh team.
The games were held in order to raise money for Sports Traider, a sporting based charity which focuses on making sure that all young people have equal opportunities to succeed in sport, regardless of their background, ability or disability.
Sports Traider opened the first ever chain of charity shops dedicated to selling sports equipment. Now, sports that would have previously been out of reach of those who couldn’t afford the specialist equipment are accessible, and subsidised equipment is available in outlets across the country.
All the profits from the shops are invested back into the local community, and are dedicated to helping disadvantaged and disabled young people to get into sport.
Lance Haggith, a basketball coach from Bedford and founder of Sports Traider has won a host of awards, including the 2010 Sports Unsung Hero award. As well as being a generally great cause to be raising money for, Lance has a personal interest in the inclusion of disabled young people in sport.
His son Ellis, 20, was on the courts daily, representing East England in the under 15s category and heading for a career in elite sports, when aged 16 he was diagnosed with an aggressive form of cancer- Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. Ellis was told that he would have to stop playing basketball completely, and undergo 3.5 years of aggressive chemotherapy. In September 2016 his treatment concluded, and after rehabilitation therapy, Ellis led the two Hoops Aid teams onto the floor before playing in the 2nd game himself. His team won He is now in remission after successful treatment and is looking forward to gaining strength and stamina.
Speaking about the night, Ellis said “my dad set up Hoops Aid in support of disabled children and I was set to take part in the first one back in 2013, but couldn’t because of my diagnosis. It’s come full circle and I’m delighted to be able to get back on the court and play, especially for a good cause.
“I spent three years in bed waiting for this moment and now it’s here.”