A Cause Worth Supporting

We don’t generally plug charities on this site, for obvious reasons–there are just too many worthy ones. But I’m going to beg my partners’ indulgence to do exactly that, just once.

As long as I can remember, B.J. Viau (pronounced “View”) has been one of my son’s close friends. B.J. was nine years old when his mother was diagnosed with Huntington’s disease, a horrible, degenerative and ultimately fatal neurological disorder. In a classic “better to light a candle” moment, the nine-year-old B.J. decided to try to raise money for medical research into the disease, which is genetic and hereditary. A basketball fan, he put on a “Hoop-A-Thon” in his family’s driveway. Guests shot baskets and made contributions–small ones, no doubt, at the time.

Since then, the Viau family has sponsored a Hoop-A-Thon every year. The event, now held at B.J.’s middle school, has grown and has garnered support from a number of professional athletes and sports teams. It is attended by throngs of people who make contributions, bid on sports-related auction items, shoot baskets and have a great time. Over the years, B.J. and his family have raised hundreds of thousands of dollars for medical research.

And, as it turned out, B.J. became a heck of a basketball player. For the last two years, he has been the captain and starting point guard on an excellent St. Thomas University team. This year, St. Thomas went 30-1, won the Minnesota Intercollegiate Athletic Conference title, was rated number one in the nation in Division III for much of the season, and finally lost to eventual national champion Washington University in the Division III tournament. B.J. is profiled here. His mother’s disease is, sadly, at an advanced stage, but she was able to attend his games this year.

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This year’s Hoop-A-Thon is on Sunday, at Falcon Ridge Middle School in Apple Valley, Minnesota. Its web site is here. If you live in or near the Twin Cities, it would be a fun event to attend. You can donate to the Hoop-A-Thon here; I’d be gratified if you would. This could be the last Hoop-A-Thon. B.J. will graduate in June and is interviewing for marketing jobs around the country. (If you own a business, you’d be well advised to consider hiring him; send us an email at [email protected] if you’re interested).

With the exception of soldiers, it is not my habit to admire kids decades younger than myself. But I admire B.J., who has carried out the most sustained and effective act of filial loyalty that I’ve witnessed. If you can shake loose a few bucks to support his efforts, it would be appreciated.

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