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Hooping it up for St. Jude’s… Girls youth league holds its annual fundraiser for St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital

BY IVAN SANDERS
STAR SPORTS EDITOR
ivan.sanders@elizabethton.com     
In a world that is so competitive, it’s always refreshing to see a time that the drive to win can be set aside for a larger cause that impacts the lives of young people in the battle against childhood cancer.
The Carter County Girls Youth League did just that this past weekend at the Elizabethton Boys and Girls Club as the league hosted its annual basketball fundraiser for St. Judes Children’s Hospital where efforts are ongoing to find cures for children that suffer the traumatic disease.
Over 20 teams gathered from young to old in coming together as a community effort to set aside the desire to win the game and just have fun and share laughs as they took to the hardwood to raise as much money as they could through team fees, admission, raffles, and a huge concession stand that offered just about a little of everything.
According to Carter County Girls Youth League president Sharon Smith, everything that has been done is all about giving back to the community.
“We are just trying to give back,” Smith said. “We have several of our girls and if it’s not our girl then its a member of their family that is being treated by St. Judes.
“We are just trying to give back to them. The least we can do is have a tournament and give money to St. Jude’s.”
The tournament is in its 13th year and the amount of money raised and donated by the league has been eye-popping.
“We have done it for 13 years and we have raised almost $20,000 for St. Judes,” said league secretary Amanda Johnson. “We get prizes every year with the amount of money that we donate and we have contests for the kids with free throws for t-shirts and little prizes that St. Judes sends for that year.
“We also have about 95 percent of our concession stand donated from grocery stores within the community or Johnson City. We have raffles that have been donated from the community and Pigeon Forge and that will go as well to St. Judes.”
According to Johnson, the majority of Carter County Girls Youth League teams participated in the tournament as well as some teams from the Boys and Girls Club in Johnson City and the Elizabethton/Carter County Boys and Girls Club.
There were also 10 adult teams that paid $50 a team to participate allowing for 22 games in all that started at 10 am and finished around 8 pm.
Information about the tournament was spread by word of mouth and flyers that were posted throughout Carter County and Johnson City.
Smith said that everything that took place to add to the success of the event couldn’t have been done without the helping hands of local businesses and individuals that allowed the league to have another successful fundraiser.
“We want to thank the businesses that have donated to us because we could never do it without them,” Smith said.
“Pepsi, the Elizabethton/Carter County Boys and Girls Club which donated the use of their gym, Wonderworks, Dollywood, Wax Museum, Fatz’s, Fresh Market, a couple of craft people that donated, Sam’s, Kroger, Tri-City Beverage, Ingles, and Food City are just a few.
“We also want to thank the referees and the constables who have donated their time to help us as well.”
The fundraiser hit close to home this year as the league’s Vice President has a son that is being treated at St. Jude’s as well according to Smith.