Teen Cancer America Hoop-a-Thon: The Rivalry 2019

Teen Cancer America (TCA) is tapping into the passion of the Duke-Carolina basketball rivalry with a pair of competing fundraisers, offering fans the rare opportunity to shoot hoops alongside their favorite Blue Devil and Tar Heel players.

Hosted by former All-Americans Nolan Smith of Duke and Brice Johnson of UNC, two back-to-back Hoop-a-Thons will be held on Saturday, Aug. 24 in Chapel Hill and Sunday, Aug. 25 in Durham. Funds raised will help support TCA programs in development at the Duke Cancer Institute and the UNC Lineberger Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Hoop-a-Thon participants will receive a swag bag containing an official t-shirt and other giveaways. There will be raffle prizes and a silent auction of sports and music memorabilia available to all attendees, and spectators are welcome. Online donations supporting either Team Nolan or Team Brice can be made at any time.

The initiative also allows online donations to be made to either the Duke or Carolina fundraising “teams” in a friendly but spirited competition to raise the most money for TCA. Details can be found at www.tcahoopathon.com. Smith, who serves as Director of Basketball Operations at Duke under head coach Mike Krzyzewski, is a former ACC Player of the Year who led Duke to the 2010 national title. He became a TCA ambassador in 2016 and has hosted Hoop-a-Thons at Duke for the past two years, with appearances by star players including Jayson Tatum, Grayson Allen, RJ Barrett, Zion Williamson and others.

Johnson, a close friend of Smith, also participated in the previous Hoop-a-Thons along with other Tar Heel players such as Nate Britt and the legendary Phil Ford. A former consensus All-American who led the Tar Heels to the 2016 national championship game, Johnson officially became a TCA ambassador in 2019 and the idea for rival Hoop-a-Thons was born.

“Brice has supported the TCA Hoop-a-Thon since the beginning, showing a side of the Duke-Carolina rivalry that most folks never see,” said Smith. “I was so excited when he became a TCA ambassador and we started planning these competing events, which will raise even more money for Teen Cancer America and the amazing work they do.”

Sponsored by First Citizens Bank, with support from The Special Event Company and French West Vaughan, the TCA Hoop-a-Thons will be held at the Dean E. Smith Center practice facility at UNC (Aug. 24) and at Duke’s Cameron Indoor Stadium (Aug. 25). Sports talk station 99.9 the Fan is the event’s official radio partner.

“Nolan’s work with TCA, helping young people fighting cancer at Duke and UNC hospitals, definitely inspired me,” Johnson said. “I’m counting on all my Tar Heels out there to register for the event in Chapel Hill or go online and make a donation so we can beat Duke!”

Founded in 2012 by rock icons Roger Daltrey and Pete Townshend of The Who, TCA develops specialized facilities, treatment and age-specific services that are proven to improve outcomes and survivorship for adolescents and young adults (AYA) fighting cancer.

About Teen Cancer America

Teen Cancer America helps hospitals and healthcare professionals bridge the gap between pediatric and adult oncology care by supporting hospitals and outpatient facilities in the development of specialized units and programs for this age group. TCA brings together physicians and allied healthcare professionals in both pediatric and adult oncology. Age-targeted care for this population is necessary for medical and appropriate psychosocial development. Outcomes associated with some cancers that target this age group have not improved in over 30 years. Teens and young adults with cancer are long overdue for an upgrade and TCA can hopefully light the fire in America’s health systems. For more information, contact Michelle Aland michelle@teencanceramerica.org or visit www.teencanceramerica.org.