The Canisius College women's basketball team has announced a "3 for a Cure" campaign during the 2012-13 season to raise awareness for neurofibromatosis as well as raise funds for research toward a cure for the disease. The Golden Griffins developed the campaign after adopting North Tonawanda resident Leah Manth for the upcoming season. Canisius is asking fans to make a donation based on the number of 3-pointers made by the Golden Griffins throughout the season.
"This is what our team is about and this is what Canisius College is about, using our talents for a greater good. Our team wants to do greater things outside of just their athletic endeavors," Canisius coach Terry Zeh said. "I am proud of them for the excitement they have created with it, and the way they have committed to doing this and doing it the right way. They are learning so much from spending time off the court with Leah."
Leah attended the Canisius Girls' Basketball Camp at the beginning of August. She was coached during the week-long camp by team captain Allison Braun. The senior inquired about a green shirt that Leah's father wore that said "LeahManth.com" and "CureNF." After camp ended Zeh talked to the Manth family about making Leah a part of the team for the 2012-13 season.
The Griffs decided to make a Leah a part of the their team by providing Leah with her own locker in the team's locker room as well as an invitation to sit on the Canisius bench during all home games.
"I already admired Leah for what she brought to camp every day. To find out that she was such a fighter on the floor and had to fight NF2 at home, I thought that I need to fight for her," Braun said. "I am glad I found it out the way I did. NF doesn't define Leah. A lot of other things define Leah like toughness, how unselfish she is and her work ethic.
"It gives us something to think about. Leah fights greater battles than we do at practice every day. She is an inspiration for us, and we want to do well for her because we want to help her cause."
Leah was diagnosed with neurofibromatosis 2 (NF2) in July 2007. NF2 is a rare genetic condition that affects the nervous system and causes tumors to develop. The tumors can affect hearing and balance on both sides of the body. Leah has undergone a number of surgeries to remove tumors from her body with another surgery scheduled for February 2013.
"I hate that Leah has neurofibromatosis but as a result of it, it brings out the best in people. This is one of those great examples where people are trying to help her have a great experience and they are succeeding immensely," Leah's mother Linda Manth said. "This gives us a chance to let Leah focus on something other than NF2. It lets her be able to focus on something she truly enjoys, which is what every kid should be able to do and every family should be able to watch."
To participate in the "3 for a Cure" campaign, fans can donate online or sign up at any Canisius women's basketball home game throughout the 2012-13 season. Canisius has averaged 200 3-pointers during the past five seasons.
For more information, check out the Canisius College women's basketball page on GoGriffs.com or Facebook.com/3ForACure.