For the fourth year, North Shore High School seniors Jagger Gillman and Ethan Bradford are organizing Hoops For Harrison, a basketball tournament that benefits a cause very close to their hearts. The two cousins started the fundraiser as freshmen in honor of Jagger’s younger brother Harrison Gillman, who suffers from Crohn’s disease, with all proceeds going to the Crohns & Colitis Foundation of America. This year Harrison, who is now a freshman, is getting involved in the event and plans to take it over next year.
“I’m proud they took it on when they were freshmen to help find a cure for Crohn’s and colitis and I’m happy I was their inspiration,” said Harrison.
Harrison, Jagger and Bradford are all passionate about basketball and started the event as a clinic for the older boys to teach basketball skills to younger children while raising money for CCFA. It’s grown every year and as they’ve learned what works and what doesn’t they’ve made changes, the biggest being a switch to a three-on-three basketball tournament last year, instead of the clinic. In years past, Harrison was able to participate and now has more responsibility as he prepares to take over the reins.
“I’m a little bit of a shy person so it is harder to promote since it’s in my name, but I also know it’s for a good cause,” said Harrison.
In addition to help from Harrison, the cousins have included Cameron Mikes, a sophomore at Roslyn High School who volunteered last year.
“I helped them get a grasp on what people would like so we could raise more money,” said Mikes, who went around to area businesses asking for gift cards and hand-picked items for the silent auction.
Last year’s tournament raised about $8,000, up from $4,000 the previous year and $2,000 the first year.
Hoops for Harrison will be held on Sunday, Jan. 15, 2017, at the Sid Jacobson Jewish Community Center in East Hills from 12:30 to 7:30 p.m., with two-hour time slots for each of the three different age groups. The cost is $150 through Jan. 8, 2017 and late registration, from Jan. 9-13, 2017, is $165. No walk-ins will be accepted.
Ever since Harrison was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease at age 7, the family has pulled together to fight for him. In addition to Hoops for Harrison, the entire family gets involved in CCFA fundraisers and Harrison also runs a bake sale for E3 Day at North Shore Middle School, which raises money for CCFA.
“I know people who had no idea what Crohn’s and colitis was until Jagger and I started spreading awareness,” said Bradford.