Basketball is always big in Kentucky this time of year ... even if the ‘Cats aren’t playing in the NCAA Tournament.
No, the maddest game this March in Somerset will be between the Somerset Police Department and the Somerset Fire Department, this Friday at the Somerset High School Gym (a.k.a. the “Briar Patch”).
And while the media rights dollars won’t be flowing with multi-channel broadcast deals, as with that other big hoops event this month, all the money generated by this game will go to a very good cause.
The “Hoops for Haylee” benefit game is aimed at helping one local family purchase a diabetic service dog for their daughter.
Eight-year-old Haylee Whitis of Somerset has Type 1 diabetes, also known as juvenile diabetes. Commonly found in children and younger adults, the condition renders the body unable to produce insulin, a hormone the body needs to convert food into energy, moving glucose into one’s cells. Lack of insulin causes glucose to stay in the blood, which can cause damage to the body and organs. Type 1 diabetes causes one’s immune system to attack the insulin-producing beta cells.
Because Haylee has experienced sudden seizures which can attack at any time, her family has launched an effort to buy a service dog, which is trained to help recognize when Haylee is at risk and provide an alert.
The problem is, diabetic alert dogs don’t come cheaply. Haylee’s mother Dana Whitis is expecting it to cost about $25,000, and the process will take time. Dana said the family has “already begun our journey” by placing the initial deposit with Virginia company Warren Retrievers, and are likely to get the dog in another several months, but just as budgets are tight for families all over America, the Whitis household is no different and any help the community can offer in getting the dog for Haylee would be a godsend.