Shoot for the Cure basketball event comes to York today

Today’s game between the York University Lions women’s basketball team and the visiting University of Toronto Varsity Blues represents more than just a regular season contest. It’s part of the annual Shoot for the Cure event.

Right: York Lions women’s basketball player Brittany Szockyj

Now in its fourth year, the fundraising initiative organized by the Canadian Interuniversity Sports (CIS) Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA) helps to raise money for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation and other related cancer charities.

The Shoot for the Cure campaign has proven to be an overwhelming success in its first three years with just under a quarter of a million dollars in donations.

The Lions have participated in the initiative in each of the last three years, but today’s game against the Varsity Blues represents the first time the Lions have hosted an event on their home court at the Tait McKenzie Centre.

All proceeds from the game, including ticket sales, will go towards the cause. There will also be raffle prizes available and a silent auction. Tip-off is scheduled for 6pm.

At the 2010 CIS championship last March in Hamilton, the WBCA presented a cheque for $94,650 to the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation, surpassing the $81,512 collected in 2008-2009 and $50,320 in the initiative’s inaugural season in 2007-2008.

In addition to these impressive totals, $21,064 was amassed over the past two years by schools that elected to donate their fundraised money to local cancer organizations.

Events as part of the Shoot for the Cure campaign have been taking place across the CIS throughout the year at regular season games, non-conference matches, tournaments and other special events.

The Lions have already been part of one of them as the University of Western Ontario Mustangs kicked off the 2010-2011 activities in October when they hosted the Lions in a non-conference game in London.

“Our Shoot For The Cure initiative is back for a fourth year and we are excited to try to reach our goal of raising $100,000 for the Canadian Breast Cancer Foundation,” said University of New Brunswick head coach and Shoot for the Cure project manager Jeff Speedy. “We are also going to work very hard to get every single CIS women’s basketball team to participate. We believe we can make a difference in the fight against breast cancer and are excited to get back to work.”

In total, more than 35 events will be held throughout the league to raise money for Shoot for the Cure this season.

With files from Canadian Interuniversity Sport (CIS)