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Having a ball for Disability Awareness

Hoops for Hope fundraiser pits Rollin' Bobcats against Northwest Cabarrus staff

By Lukas Johnson
ljohnson@charlotteobserver.com

The Hoops for Hope wheelchair basketball fundraiser Thursday night at Northwest Cabarrus High School was entertaining, educational and exciting.

The Charlotte Rollin' Bobcats junior varsity team defeated Northwest Cabarrus faculty and staff members 41-24 in a heated and sometimes comical matchup.

In an effort to raise awareness and promote Disability Awareness Month, rookie wheelchair athletes from the school literally crashed into their more adept opponents as they raced up and down the court.

Members of both teams were knocked out of their wheelchairs.

Someone even took off a wheel from one of the wheelchairs and held it up in air.

“I've never been so pumped for a contest I knew I was going to lose,” Doug Vernon, who teaches horticulture at Northwest Cabarrus, said before the game.

The school's faculty and staff were coached by event organizer Jill Moore, a sophomore at Northwest who was named the Sports 'n' Spokes 2008 national Junior Athlete of the Year. She also is a member of the Charlotte Rollin' Bobcats junior varsity team, which placed second in the nation last year.

The event raised about $735, but Moore said the event was more about raising awareness.

“I want it to be a learning experience more than a fundraiser,” she said. “I want people to know it isn't just some gentle little game.”

Proceeds will benefit Abilities Unlimited of the Carolinas Inc., which helps people with physical disabilities.

To learn more or to donate, visit www.aucarolinas.org.

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