On the surface, the annual Anthony “Tony” Sowers Memorial Basketball Game doesn’t make a ton of money.
With tickets at just $4, the fundraiser to benefit Lathrop’s Relay for Life Event and the college fund that was set up for Sowers’ 7-year-old daughter after the Lathrop Manteca Firefighter passed away from cancer took in roughly $300 last year for both organizations.
But if you ask Tamara Edwards of the Lathrop Relay for Life, the exposure that the event gives to the efforts of the organizing committee – letting people who wouldn’t otherwise be involved with the effort know what it’s all about – is far more valuable.
“It’s an event where dollar wise it isn’t a huge return, but attendance wise it is,” Edwards said. “Most of the people who come aren’t relay participants but are there for the Fire District and to help out Tony’s daughter, and that really makes it a community event that people can get behind.
“It’s about bringing the community together for a good cause.”
This year the game will be played on Sunday, Jan. 15, at 3 p.m. inside of the Scott Brooks Gymnasium at the Lathrop Community Center. The $4 tickets (children under 3 are free) will go to benefit both the college fund for Sowers’ daughter and the Relay for Life account that ultimately gets donated to the American Cancer Society. The Lathrop Manteca Fire District will take on Cancer’s Nightmare – a group of relay participants who will replace Lathrop Police Services in the contest.
And according to Edwards, the community involvement has been getting better each year that the relay event has been in existence – getting support from local businesses in the form of sponsorships last year that helped the group raise just over $32,000.
Volunteers earned roughly $7,500 by working for $10-an-hour at Dell’Osso Family Farm functions throughout the year, while CBC Steel Buildings donated $1,000 in the name of the company’s founder, who passed away from cancer, and the Pilot/Flying J Truck Stop corporation donated $1,500 to the popular community charity.
With a full slate of other fundraisers scheduled between now and Aug. 19th when the ceremony begins at Valverde Park at 10 a.m., Edwards hopes to be able to raise just as much this year to benefit research efforts on a disease that is believed to affect everybody in one way or another during their lifetime.
“We’re going to have a mother’s breakfast and a murder mystery dinner and we have a gambling trip to Jackson Rancheria coming up,” Edwards said. “But this basketball event is something that touches people because the story behind it becomes a little bit more personal with Tony being a firefighter.
“This is something that benefits his family and a lot of other families, and it’s something that the community has really supported since we started it.”
Tickets for the event can be purchased at the door or by contacting Edwards at 209.914.7119 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.