ThinkBIG continues mission with MCA-SCA basketball

In this Jan. 20, 2018, file photo, Mount Carmel’s Tommy Reisinger is defended by Southern Columbia’s Julian Fleming during the teams’ annual ThinkBIG basketball classic Saturday at Mount Carmel.

When the Southern Columbia and Mount Carmel basketball teamsstep foot on the hardwood tonight, they will be working with ThinkBIG to help bring awareness to an important cause.

ThinkBIG is a non-profit organization that focuses on helping families effected by pediatric cancer and has joined forces with Tigers and Red Tornadoes hoops teams four out of the past five years.

The doubleheader was rescheduled from Saturday due to inclement weather.

Event organizer Cassandra Niglio said that changing the date of the contests was the right call and it is important to get as many people to the events as possible.

“It’s a good move with the weather we were expected to get. I think it was the right call. More people would be able to come out and support the cause. We’re encouraging folks to come out. We’re grateful to still have the games, because people can make a difference in the life of a child. When you come together for a common cause anything is possible,” Niglio explained about the impact of the event.

Niglio added that she enjoys the generosity from the players involved with the basketball games and how the athletes have made a “simple league game into more than just a game.”

Community feedback has been a constant with the ThinkBIG organization. Niglio noted that organizers have received input from people in the district and have taken different ideas into consideration when looking at new event or activities.

Niglio continued by talking about the origin of the basketball games becoming apart of ThinkBIG.

“I was 19-years old, still in college and I showed Lisa Varano this idea. We took a leap of faith. It has grown with doing donations for a cause. I’m thankful she and the school districts took a leap of faith,” Niglio said.

With ThinkBIG generating over $50,000 from its dance marathon in early November and nearly $185,000 overall (six dance marathons), Niglio said it is vital to raise awareness and get people to participate.

“We focus on spreading awareness and getting people involved. We want as many people to be involved as we can. We want everyone to know about it and for people to get involved,” Niglio said.

The impact ThinkBIG has left a huge footprint on surrounding areas and Southern’s Gordon Cole is grateful for all the organization has done.

“I really believe in their mission. It’s a great organization and they’re very wonderful to work with.They’ve given us a banner to put up during games and socks for all the players,” he said.

Cole is in charge of scheduling when activities take place during tonight’s games. He believes ThinkBIG brings a positive environment to the MCA-Southern rivalry.

”I think it’s a great way for both communities to show the games can be fun. There’s a lot of great people in the area. If there’s a great cause people in the community will come out to support it.”

Cole explained that there will be a duck toss after one of the varsity games and a 50-50 raffle throughout the night as a drawing will be held at halftime of the boys varsity matchup. In addition to those activities, a basket raffle will also occur during the evening as well.

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