Source: Jersey Shore Online
The Golden Eagles hosted the third annual Central Regional Boys Basketball Coaches vs. Cancer Showcase benefit last week.
The event is part of a national fundraiser supporting cancer research in memory of Jim Valvano, who died of the illness at the age of 47 on April 28, 1993. He was a Rutgers University player and assistant men’s team coach, and in 1983 led the North Carolina State Wolfpack to a national title.
Funds were raised through sponsorships, donations and T-shirt sales. Jersey Mike’s and Oh What A Bagel, both of Berkeley Township, donated food, according to Roseann Puglisi of Berkeley, an event worker. There was a box for donations. Lending a hand at the event was Central’s girls basketball team, who sold wristbands and T-shirts.
“This makes you a better person,” freshman center Kayla Krzykowski said. “We all work together. I am enjoying it. It’s a lot of fun to be with your teammates outside of basketball. We get to hang out together.”
“It’s the third year I have been here and it’s always a great event for a great cause,” Toms River North player Colin Baker said. “The whole community rallies to watch high quality basketball games. It’s just good.”
Since last summer, the Showcase has taken on a more personal meaning for Central: current boys basketball coach Mike Clemente, son of event spokesperson Maureen and retired Central coach Mike Clemente Senior, was diagnosed with Primary Mediastinal Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma and underwent intensive chemotherapy at the Monmouth Medical Center in Long Branch.
Currently being treated by Dr. Seth Cohen, Clemente, 43, says he is in good health. “Everything is great — another scan came back two weeks ago and everything is totally clear. I have been cancer free for nearly 14 months and I am starting to feel like myself again. I am under no diet restrictions.
“Last year, I had a lot less energy. Now, I do everything I have always done. My doctor said, ‘Be yourself.’ Basketball has always been my number one passion outside of my family. I can always dig deep to find the energy to get the job done.”
Jim Valvano was quoted in the Showcase’s pre-event literature as saying, “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”