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Basketball game raises $2,000 for local playwright

By Curt Yeomans

cyeomans@news-daily.com

Mia Brown's family had seen much better times than those they experienced in 2008.

Three family members, including Brown's mother, passed away last year. It led to the cancellation of the annual family reunion in August.

Then Brown, 41, a playwright from Jonesboro, hit her family with one more bit of bad news in November. She had been diagnosed with cervical cancer.

"My family was in shock, because we had just lost my uncle in February, my mother in April, and my cousin in October," Brown said. "What hurt the most was that, after everything we had gone through, to come back and tell them I had cancer was heart-breaking for me."

Brown was this year's beneficiary of Pointe South Elementary School's "Ballin' for a Cause" charity basketball game, which was held Friday at Pointe South Middle School.

Fifth-graders from Pointe South Elementary faced fifth-graders from Church Street Elementary School in the charity game.

The event raised about $2,000 to help Brown cover medical expenses during her fight against cancer, said event co-coordinator, Jimmie Dukes, a kindergarten teacher at Pointe South Elementary.

Brown, who attends church with Annette Alexander, the game's other co-coordinator, said she had a "radical hysterectomy" on Dec. 15. Brown will meet her doctor Tuesday to discuss further treatment options.

"Whatever he has to do to save my life, I'm going to do it," she said. "In my family, we have a saying, and it is 'I have cancer, but cancer does not have me.'"

The playwright, who wrote a play entitled, "The New Kid on the Block," for the school in April 2008, was not told until Jan. 19, that she would be the beneficiary of the game's proceeds. "I've been crying every day since then, whenever I think about it," said Brown. "It's overwhelming and a blessing."

Dukes said the game was "wonderful," because it will help Brown in her fight against cancer. "No matter what we raised, it's a wonderful night because it's a blessing for her," Dukes said.

Church Street won the game 41-16, but Pointe South players said they learned lessons about life by participating in the game.

"I learned quitters never win, and that, sometimes, basketball can be played for good causes," said Michael Foster, 10, a fifth-grader at Pointe South.

"Helping others is very important, and you can learn new things from the experience," said Christian Sama, 11, another fifth-grader. "I learned how to be a team player from this experience."