Long Beach High School Brings Hope through Hoops

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Basketball Game Raises Thousands for Epidermolysis Bullosa Research

Long Beach High School student Kate Hanson took the lead in organizing a basketball game to help find a cure for the devastating disease Epidermolysis Bullosa, with all proceeds benefitting the EB Research Partnership. She was assisted by friends and fellow students Emma Biffer, Brooke Harrington and Mary Elizabeth McCourt in mapping out and executing a successful event that has resulted in donations of $2,115 to date.

EB Research Partnership staff members Michelle Hall and Dinara Salem attended the game and spoke with students about the condition.

According to www.ebresearch.org, EB affects the body inside and out.

 It occurs in the absence of a critical protein that binds the layers of skin together. Without this protein, the skin tears apart, blisters and sheers off, leading to severe pain, disfigurement and wounds that never heal. However, research is looking optimistic, with the prospect of discovering a cure in the coming years.

The game, held on May 23 in the high school gymnasium, featured the excitement of staff members vs. students on the court. Both teams demonstrated excellent skill and athleticism during this friendly competition ultimately won by students, and bleachers were filled with friends and family members who came out to cheer on the players and support a meaningful mission. A number of students and staff members also pitched in with the behind-the-scenes responsibilities that were involved in carrying out what proved to be an enthusiasm-filled sports event fundraiser. Vice Principal Dr. Andrew Smith and Dean of Students Philip Bruno were also instrumental in coordinating details for the day.

The fundraising kicked off with a Crowdrise page that Kate initiated, and the four students together solicited donations from local businesses, friends and family members. They also raised monies through the sale of raffle tickets, food and “Shooting to Cure EB” t-shirts that displayed the EB butterfly symbol. Families and local businesses donated snacks and gift cards, and the NBA generously provided a gift basket worth $250 as the grand prize raffle along with NBA Cares t-shirts worn by the student athletes.  

Kate, Emma, Brooke and Mary Elizabeth developed the idea for the game, enlisted the assistance of volunteers and executed a successful event from start to finish. They selected the EB Research Partnership based on a connection Kate had already established with this cause and her interest in supporting it again this year. She first became aware of EB when she was in middle school and decided to take on a charitable effort as her Bat Mitzvah project. At that time, she raised $3,000 for the organization and has continued to be active in supporting its mission to help save lives.

“I was deeply moved by the suffering of a young boy I know with EB and wanted to do something to make a difference in his life as well as the lives of others with this terrible disease,” Kate said.

Jessica Scheer, EBRP’s executive director said “Groups like this one are essential to us meeting our mission of raising the needed funds to support a cure. Early medical research for rare diseases is hard to fund other than through government or large private institutions.

We’ve been so touched by Kate and the Long Beach High School community for their dedication and generosity in raising funds and awareness.”