November 26, 2012

Alzheimer's hoop tourney nets huge rewards

ELIZABETHTOWN — One year later, John Konowitz is still amazed at the overwhelming generosity shown by the North Country for the First-Annual Alzheimer’s Awareness Basketball Tournament.

“We thought we might raise $5,000 and we ended up getting $16,200, which the Massachusetts General Hospital matched for Alzheimer’s research,” the longtime coach related with glistening eyes.

“The response from the school administrators, sponsors, athletic directors, coaches, players, support staff, faculty, referees and people in the North Country was staggering.

“It wasn’t the money so much, but all of the people. It blew us away and was very humbling. It was not something you can ever prepare for.”

The sense of community and compassion are evident once again as Konowitz prepares for the second fundraiser to be held this week. And, if early commitments are an indication, the North Country should easily outdo last year’s level of giving. Nearly $10,000 has been raised with well over 100 businesses and individuals making monetary or prize donations to be raffled during the four days.

“A lot of money is raised during the games, especially with the raffles,” Konowitz said.

The girls’ tournament will be Tuesday and Wednesday at Elizabethtown-Lewis Central. Ticonderoga will take on Westport at 5:30 p.m. followed by Schroon Lake and Elizabethtown-Lewis at 7 p.m. The consolation and championship games will be Wednesday at the same times.

The boys’ tournament will be Thursday and Friday at Moriah Central School. Ticonderoga and Elizabethtown-Lewis will open at 5:30 p.m. followed by Moriah and Willsboro at 7 p.m. The consolation and championship games will be Friday at the same times.

This year, all proceeds will benefit the Alzheimer’s Centers in Elizabethtown and Saranac Lake.

“Our goal this year is to keep the money local,” Konowitz added.

Dementia is a loss of brain function that occurs with certain diseases. Alzheimer’s disease (AD), is one form of dementia that gradually gets worse over time. It affects memory, thinking, and behavior.

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