By Michele Sequeira

Playing Hoops to Battle Cancer

Legislators show off their basketball skills, but the real winners are New Mexicans facing cancer

Play basketball and fight cancer? New Mexico's state senators and representatives do it each year.

The end-of-session Hoops for Hope basketball game benefits The University of New Mexico Comprehensive Cancer Center patient care fund. The legislators enjoy playing, the spectators enjoy the show, and the annual game raises money to help people in New Mexico diagnosed with cancer.

This year's Hoops 4 Hope game will take place March 6 at 7 p.m. in the Santa Fe Indian School gymnasium.

Undaunted by the scratches and bruises they could incur, the legislators divide into the Senate Lobos and the House of Representatives Aggies. Traditionally, the teams are coached by off-season coaches from UNM and New Mexico State University. Bob Davie, UNM's head football coach, will coach the Senate team. NMSU will announce the coach for the House Aggies closer to game day.

"New Mexico's legislators show their steadfast commitment to fighting cancer in our state in many ways, and this game is just one," says Cheryl Willman, MD, CEO and director of the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center. "The Hoops 4 Hope game has been a tremendous source of support."

Since 2007, the Hoops 4 Hope game has raised nearly $200,000 for the patient care fund, which helps people financially as they go through their cancer treatment.

The American Cancer Society estimates that nearly 9,500 New Mexicans will receive a cancer diagnosis in 2019 and 3,700 will die from the disease. The UNM Cancer Center offers cancer treatment to all New Mexicans. It is the only cancer center in New Mexico designated by the National Cancer Institute.

"We serve the people of New Mexico," Willman says. "The proceeds from this game help us to deliver the cutting-edge, compassionate care that all New Mexicans deserve."


NMSU Head Men's Basketball Coach Chris Jans will coach the House Aggies.

Categories: Comprehensive Cancer Center