Basketball event aims to help sick children

CRYSTAL LAKE – A pickup game Saturday at McHenry County College could help provide a major pick-me-up for a child with a life-threatening illness.

Chris Schauer is bringing back his Basketball in the Park event for a 15th year Saturday to raise money for Give Kids the World Village – a 70-acre, nonprofit resort in Florida where children with life-threatening diseases and their families receive a weeklong, cost-free vacation and access to popular amusement parks.

"It's for a good cause," he said. "I don't think kids should have to suffer. I want to help."

Unlike previous years, Basketball in the Park will be inside at the McHenry County College gymnasium instead of the Woodstock park that has hosted it as the park is under construction.

Schauer, who has served as a team manager for the men's and women's basketball squads at MCC for more than 20 years, had to battle for his own life through diseases as a child. He was born with a hole in his heart and suffered a stroke when he was a 1-year-old, and has had four open-heart surgeries, numerous optical surgeries and experienced kidney failure.

But it was his younger sister who was diagnosed with bone cancer while attending Woodstock High School in 1998 that inspired him to start the event. Since the first event, Schauer has helped raise more than $30,000 for Give Kids the World.

“I started it because of my sister," Schauer said. "I have a passion and a drive for it."

This year's event will feature 3-on-3 and 5-on-5 basketball games as well as skill contests, including free-throw shootouts, 3-point challenges, H.O.R.S.E and other competitions. The event, open to those age 12 and older, is $10 to play. Registration starts at 8:30 a.m. with games beginning at 9 a.m. and going until noon. Competitions continue from 1 to 4 p.m.

People can register as a team or individually. More information about the event can be found at www.basketballinthepark.org.