Basketball fans who want to help their community should set aside free time on Saturday, August 24. That’s when the Max Cure Foundation will host its inaugural Dunk Your Kicks 3-on-3 basketball tournament and family fun day at the Ross School in East Hampton.
The event is a fundraiser for the Max Cure Foundation, a national 501 (c)(3) charity dedicated to advancing cures for pediatric cancers and funding the development of less toxic treatments for children, including an immune cell therapy laboratory at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center dedicated to alternative treatments for children and young adults battling the disease. The foundation also provides emotional and financial support, through its Roar Beyond Barriers initiative, to both low-income and military families whose children are in active cancer treatment.
The foundation has raised large sums of money in the past with its annual Roar for a Cure carnival, which has now evolved into this new event, according to organizer David Plotkin, who said he was looking for different ways to generate revenue.
The tournament is open to boys and girls and men and women ages 7 and up, and the teams will be put into different brackets based on age. There will be male, female and co-ed divisions as well. All players who participate are asked to bring a pair of used sneakers, which they will “dunk” into a collection bin. The sneakers are then sold to an international recycler, giving the foundation roughly $1 per pound.
Plotkin said the benefit of bringing the sneakers is twofold: not only will it help raise money for the foundation, it will put shoes on the feet of needy kids. It will keep the sneakers out of landfills as well, representing a positive environmental impact.
“The ultimate goal is to have people show up, pay to play, and then dunk an old pair of sneakers from their closet,” Plotkin said earlier this week. “It gives purpose to playing the game, knowing that local children battling cancer will benefit, and the sneakers can change lives.”
Several of the teams in this year’s tournament are being sponsored by other beneficiaries and supporters of the foundation, including teams made up of athletes from the Kendall Madison Playaz, a local AAU team. The foundation partnered with Fast Break Kids, an after-school sports program in New York City, which will officially conduct the tournament. There will also be an exhibition by the And1 Live Streetball Tour, a family-style picnic, and other activities for kids.
The first tip-off for the tournament is at 9 a.m., while family fun day activities will take place from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Plotkin currently lives in Bergen County in New Jersey, but his family has a home in Amagansett, where he spent his summers as a child. That experience, he says, has given the East End a special place in his heart, and he is committed to helping families from the area who are afflicted by pediatric cancer.
The tournament will be played to honor Amos Ryan, an East Hampton High School graduate whose daughter is currently battling brain cancer. Ryan was a standout basketball player for the Bonackers. He will be this year’s recipient of the Roar Beyond Barriers Award, given to an individual who shows courage and bravery during a very difficult time in their life while trying to inspire friends and family to rally around their loved ones.