Bigger Than Basketball

On June 16, 2018, Level Up LI’s Director of Operations, EJ Parry, and our Girls Director, Christina Raiti, organized the second annual, Mandy’s Mark Classic.

The Mandy’s Mark Classic was a three-game event that took place at Long Island Lutheran High School.

Amanda Kuck, daughter of LuHi’s Kim and Tom Kuck, was diagnosed on June 6, 2015 with DIPG, an aggressive pediatric brain tumor. Sadly, on January 25, 2016, only four days after her 5th birthday, Mandy lost her battle to cancer. On June 16, 2018, Mandy’s life was celebrated. The top basketball players throughout the tri-state area honored the Kuck family, raised awareness of DIPG, and raised money for DIPG cancer research with hope to prevent other parents from one day having to lose their children.

ALL proceeds from the event went towards The Cure Starts Now Foundation. DIPG is an aggressive pediatric brain tumor. Approximately 200-400 children in the US are diagnosed with DIPG each year. Medical discoveries throughout the last few years have increased survival rates for children diagnosed with other types of cancer. However, these discoveries have not helped with DIPG. Currently, there is no effective cure and no chance of survival for children diagnosed with this cancer. Only 10% of children with DIPG survive for two years after their diagnosis, and less than 1% survive for five years.

If you're interested in learning more, you can visit their website to read about the foundation at NEWYORK.THECURESTARTSNOW.ORG.

This event showcased 60 of the the tristate area’s top male and female basketball players and brought them together for one common cause. This year 30 of the 60 players were already committed to play at the collegiate level and there were many underclassmen who held scholarship offers as well. Multiple national powerhouse programs were represented throughout the rosters and we are proud of our Level Up DOP and GD for creating such powerful rosters.

This year the event raised just short of $15,000 all of which went to the Cure Starts Now New York Chapter. The game would not have been possible without the help of Level Up employee, Derek Klein, who aided in the organization and execution of the three-game event. The Mandy's Mark Classic was sponsored by Adidas and was truly a day to be remembered. Level Up was fortunate enough to have three coaches aid in the creation of this special day and also had youth teams featured during halftime of two out of the three games. For pictures of the Level Up teams featured in this special day, view the photo album below. To watch the story featured on News 12 LI, click the following link provided