ROXBURY, NJ – Registration began Wednesday for the second installment of “Layups 4 Life,” a 3-on-3 basketball tournament at Roxbury High School that raises money to fight cancer.
The popular event will take place April 10, said organizer Dan Exter, a 29-year-old Roxbury High School graduate who started it last year as a way to help fund research at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. The Jersey City resident believes the hospital saved his life in 2013 after he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.
Last year’s Layups4Life raised more than $10,000, double the amount Exter anticipated. This year, he is aiming high. “I want to do $15,000 or even $20,000,” he said. “I want to raise as much as possible. This, obviously, has a personal connection to me. I want to give back so they can help others.”
At Sloan Kettering, Exter received full-body radiation, chemotherapy and a transplant of T-cell depleted stem cells donated by his brother, Jason. “I’m doing great,” he said. “I have my last bone marrow test in a couple of weeks. It will be the 2-year mark since my last transplant.”
The day-long basketball tournament, for ages 15 and older, costs $25 per player until April 4. After that it increases to $30. All who register will get a Layups4Life T-shirt.
Exter conducted a survey after last year’s tournament. He said he got some “great responses” that will make this year’s event better. “I totally learned on the fly, in terms of some rules changes, how to make the tournament much smoother and to improve the quality of play,” he said. “We had open minds and open ears.”
Exter also praised his girlfriend, Dana Levine. “She is my co-founder,” he said. “She is my co-CEO and without her this event isn’t even possible.”
He also expressed gratitude to the Interact Club at Roxbury High School and the club's mentor, teacher Allyson Spargo. Exter also thanked Roxbury High School Athletic Director Stu Mason who, he said, "has been a supporter from day one and continues to be a strong influence and strong supporter.”