ENON — Nine members of the Miami Valley Adapted Sports (MVAS) Junior Minutemen Wheelchair Basketball Team will take to the floor on Friday, Nov. 6 for a friendly game of basketball at Indian Valley Middle School, 510 Enon-Xenia Road.
The game, which is a fundraiser for the MVAS team, will pit the young basketball players against members of the Clark County Sheriff’s Department. Doors will open to the school’s gymnasium at 6:15 p.m., with tipoff at 7 p.m. Spectators attending the game will be asked for a donation at the door. All proceeds will go directly to the MVAS organization to cover operating expenses, such as travel and hotel costs.
Clark County Sheriff’s Deputy Bobby Wise will be on hand during halftime to auction off a variety of gift baskets and items. Donations from the 50/50 raffle will benefit the MVAS athletes as well. Local vendors will also be selling crafts and other items during halftime for those who want to shop early for Christmas.
Enon Village Administrative Assistant Kristy Thome, who son Sebastian plays for the MVAS team, said the wheelchair basketball games also help raise public awareness of sports available for individuals in wheelchairs. Sebastian, an 11-year-old with spina bifida, is a sixth grader at Indian Valley Middle School and has been a member of the he MVAS Junior Minuteman team for five years.
“Sebastian came home one day with a flyer from school and said that he wanted to play soccer,” Thome said. “He would get on the ground and hit the ball with his hands. So, we wanted to find a way for Sebastian to participate in sports.”
That’s when Thome read a brochure about the organization, then known as the Miami Valley Association of Disabled Athletes (MVADA), and the recreational programs available to children and young adults with disabilities.
“As a parent of a special needs child, it is wonderful to see your child on the basketball court, having fun and interacting with his peers,” said Thome. “Sebastian has gained lots of confidence and has made numerous friends.”
Thome credits Sergeant Chad Brown from the Clark County Sheriff’s Department and his wife Sarah for organizing the game on Friday. Thome said she was pleased to learn that the sheriff’s deputies were enthused about participating in the fundraising event because the team’s operating funds were dwindling rapidly.
Last year, Brown urged citizens in the community to send get-well cards to Sebastian who was convalescing after undergoing surgery. At that time, Brown and Sebastian discussed a game between the Jr. Minutemen team and members of the sheriff’s department, and Brown followed through with planning the faceoff between the Junior Minutemen team and the sheriff’s deputies.
The Junior Minutemen Wheelchair Basketball Team competes in the Midwest Conference of the Junior Division of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association and travels to a number of states for games. Members of the team are from eight to 18 years of age and must have a lower extremity disability which interferes with functional mobility. Some young MVAS athletes have received varsity letters from their high schools, and gone on to earn wheelchair basketball scholarships from several universities.
MVAS also provides other recreational opportunities for children and adults with physical disabilities such as sled hockey, power soccer, wheelchair tennis and swimming.
Anyone interested in donating raffle items can contact Thome at 937-864-7870.
Linda Collins is a freelance reporter for Greene County News.
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