Feb 192006
Authors: Kathryn Dailey

Twenty-four people. Six teams. They all played against each other, but they played for the same cause.

On Saturday several students gave up their afternoon to play in the Black History Month Basketball Fundraiser for sickle cell anemia. The National Pan-Hellenic Council (NPHC) and Black Definition Student Organization hosted the event. The second-annual tournament was the concluding event of Greek Week.

Cynthia Johnson , senior political science major and member of Alpha Kappa Alpha, came to support those playing in the tournament along with more than 10 others who sat on the sidelines to cheer on players.

"All the Greek (councils) are part of the event or contributed financially," she said. These councils include the Interfraternity Council, NPHC and Latino Greek Council.

The event raised money for sickle cell anemia – last year it was for diabetes. All proceeds will go to Hartshorn Health Services for sickle cell anemia research.

"We try to choose an ailment that affects people of African-American descent," said China Hutchins , a senior liberal arts major and secretary of Black Definitions.

Sickle cell anemia is a hereditary blood disorder that causes the red blood cells to change shape becoming more rigid and curved, which makes it more difficult for them to squeeze through small blood vessels, according to the American Sickle Cell Anemia Association. Blood cells end up stacking up and create blockages that prevent organs and tissues from receiving oxygen in the blood.

"Sickle cell disease is a worldwide health problem," Dr. Ernest Turner, director of the Comprehensive Sickle Cell Center in Nashville, Tenn., told the Collegian in a previous interview. "In Africa alone there are approximately 200,000 infants born with the disease. In the United States there are approximately 2,000 infants born annually."

The tournament itself lasted almost two hours with players taking occasional breaks to hear more about what they were playing for. Even spectators decided to have fun of their own when a few began playing a game of H-O-R-S-E on the half-court not being used by those in the tournament.

When players arrived, they were numbered off from one to six and divided into teams.

"In order to diversify the teams we didn't do any pre-registering," Hutchins said.

Hutchins believed the event went well, but was disappointed in the turn out.

"The players that played wanted to and knew the cause they were playing for," she said.

Mike Donovan contributed to this story. Kathryn Dailey can be reached at campus@collegian.com

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