Students for Organ Donation putting on Hoops for Hope charity basketball

Hannah Sparling and Hannah Sparling

This weekend a simple three point shot can do more than win a game; it can help save lives. Members of Students for Organ Donation are putting on a three-on-three basketball tournament Saturday to raise money and awareness for the Polycystic Kidney Disease Foundation. The tournament, called Hoops for Hope, will be held in the Perry Field House at 1 p.m. PKD is a genetic disease that causes fluid-filled cysts to grow on the kidneys, and it is something senior John Laisure knows about firsthand. Laisure, public relations chair for SOD, was diagnosed with PKD the summer after he graduated from high school. He said one day the disease will force him to get a kidney transplant. ‘Right now I’m fine, but eventually, yeah, I’ll have to,’ he said. ‘That’s why this is so important to me.’ Both Laisure’s mom and uncle have PKD, and because the disease is genetic he said he was really not surprised when he learned he had it as well. ‘I always knew there was a chance,’ he said. Laisure said he does not know when he will need to start dialysis or get a transplant. Both his mom and uncle got them when they were in their 40s, but he said his kidney might last longer because he was diagnosed earlier, and was able to adapt parts of his diet and lifestyle to stay healthy. ‘[My mom and uncle] didn’t know as young as I did,’ he said. ‘If you’re careful about it, it might not progress as much as if you didn’t know.’ All the money raised at the basketball tournament will go to the PKD foundation. There is no cure for PKD right now, but the foundation is working to change that. ‘Hopefully we can get enough research to find a cure,’ Laisure said. Senior Elyssa Northey, president of SOD, said PKD is a good disease to campaign and fundraise for because not many people know about it. If affects more people than Down syndrome, cystic fibrosis, muscular dystrophy and sickle cell anemia combined, but a lot of people don’t even know it exists, she said. ‘It’s the most common genetic disease in the U.S., but it’s the least funded,’ she said. ‘We thought it was a really good cause to support because people don’t hear about it.’ Northey said the basketball tournament is a good way to get the word out about the disease, while also having fun and raising money. ‘This is the big project we’ve been working on all year,’ she said. The three-on-three tournament is also being co-sponsored by the BGSU Do It Now! campaign. Do It Now! is a college wide competition between 18 different schools to register organ donors, said Lauren Butts, campaign manager of Do It Now! at the University. Butts said when she heard about the three-on-three tournament, it seemed like the perfect way to raise awareness about organ donation while also supporting a good cause. ‘I thought, ‘Well, ya, this is exactly what this campaign is all about,” she said. At the tournament, Do It Now! will have a table set up to help people register to become organ donors or simply learn more about the process and why it’s important. ‘ ‘That’s our main thing, is to try to register people who aren’t donors,’ Butts said. ‘Every single potential donor can save up to eight lives.’