On March 25, 2016 fifty basketball players participated in a 24-hour charity fundraiser to raise funds for the Sihanouk Hospital Center of HOPE (SHCH) as well as additional support for other HOPE worldwide programs. The Boston Hoops for Hope event raised more than $71,000 – making it the most successful one since it began eight years ago!
The players were cheered on by approximately 400 friends, family and members of both the Lowell and local Cambodian communities. Amy Hoey, COO of Lowell General Hospital (LGH) spoke about the sister-hospital relationship which began one and a half years ago between LGH and SHCH. Two emergency room physicians, Dr. Sovann Yong and Dr. Chris Clingan, came directly from overnight shifts to speak about their recent trip to Cambodia to initiate an ultrasound training program at SHCH. Bopha Malone, President of the Cambodian Mutual Assistance Association (CMAA) and Sonny Sok, a board member of CMAA were also on hand to encourage the players.
Dana Skinner, Athletic Director at UMASS Lowell, spoke to the players and arranged for Hoops for HOPE to use the university’s athletic center free of charge for the second year. Deputy Director of Development and Planning for the City of Lowell, Kevin Coughlin, and City Counselor and former Mayor of Lowell, Rodney Elliot, came to applaud the players and their efforts. Other supporters included Massachusetts State Representative, Rady Mom, and Sokchea Monn, former SHCH Warehouse Director, currently the director of the Goldstone School in Cambodia.
One of the highlights of the day was when after 12 hours of playing ball, the Hoops for Hope all-stars went up against the Cambodian National Basketball Team in a thrilling game. The Cambodian team was behind in the beginning, but they closed the gap, tying at 73–73 with 11 seconds to go! Hoops for Hope coach Phil Arsenault called a time-out, setting up a single play ending with Ricardo Waldron hitting the winning basket at the buzzer, to the excitement of the crowd.
There really were no losers at this event, as everyone left with the satisfaction of playing for a worthy cause. Members of the Cambodian National Team also received basketballs signed by many of the community leaders in attendance. Additionally they were treated to excellent chiropractic care, right there on the spot, by Dr. Ken Lowey, director of HOPE worldwide’s Boston Chapter.
Our deepest thanks go to all who have taken part in planning and organizing this meaningful event for the past eight years.