CHATHAM, NJ - A Chatham-Mendham boys basketball matchup is always a big game, but there will be added incentive for the fans to come out and cheer at 7 p.m. Tuesday because all the money raised from the "Believe in a Cure" game will benefit the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation.
A year ago, Chatham raised $3,500 for children's cancer research. The Cougars defeated West Morris in that 2016 game made special by the childhood cancer survivors who joined the Chatham team for the game.
"This year's event is going to be called the "Believe in a Cure" game in honor of Spencer Jacovini, who inspired me to start this event a four years ago," Joe Reel, Chatham assistant basketball coach, said. "All proceeds will be donated to the Children's Brain Tumor Foundation as Spencer is also a brain tumor survivor."
Spencer, who is blind, will again be an honorary team member as he was last year. He spent time with the Chatham team before, during and after the game and wore a team jersey on the bench. Afterward, he handed ouit "Team Spencer" wristbands to the team.
"Spencer, he's coming back again," Chatham senior guard Donnie McAuliffe said. "He's amazing. The whole game means the world to him. It was so much fun. Hopefully we'll raise more money this year and Cougar Nation will come out to support this cause. Spencer's outlook on life is amazing. The fact that he has such a positive outlook on life is so inspiring."
The sponsors for the event are Chatham Wealth Management, Atlas Tree Service and Chatham Wrestling.
"I'm looking forward to seeing Spencer again this year," Chatham senior forward Graham LeMon said. "I have some good jokes for him. It made us all feel better as a team to help people who need it."
Spencer, a resident of Berkeley Heights, will be joined by other childhood cancer survivors.
"A few Chatham community members, specifically Dan Moskowitz, have really stepped up to the plate and have rallied behind this event," Reel said. "It's a great chance for our student-athletes to learn a lesson in overcoming adversity and it gives them some perspective outside of basketball and school. Here are a few kids that have gone through so much at such an early age. It teaches us that you can get through anything that sports, school, or life throws at you."