Ballin’ for Colin: Basketball fundraiser held for student battling cancer

NORTH SHELBY – The Briarwood Christian School junior high faculty team defeated the students, 44-35, in an exhibition basketball game on Friday, March 24, but the real winner was a student and his family.

The game, an annual pre-spring break tradition, this year served as a fundraiser for eighth grade student Colin Reyes-Guerra, who is battling cancer.

The goal was to raise $1,000 to help with the family’s expenses through students purchasing tickets for $1 each and donations from parents and others in the community.

The fundraising effort shattered the goal, as more than $6,800 was presented at halftime of the basketball game, according to Junior High Student Council sponsor Cindy Janney.

“It’s a blessing from the Lord,” Janney said and added that more than $4,000 came in on the day of the game.

Students were encouraged to not simply ask their parents for money,” Janney said.

“We tried to encourage the kids to give of themselves,” she said.

So, some students picked up odd jobs to raise money, some gave their lunch money and one donated the proceeds of a commercial filmed using the students’ llamas.

The assistant sponsor for the Junior High Student Council is Meredith Fitzpatrick.

Game attendees made posters with words of encouragement for Reyes-Guerra. Examples included: “Ballin’ for Colin,” “We Got Your Back” and “Stay Strong.”

Reyes-Guerra’s cancer was discovered after he was examined for a sports physical.

Reyes-Guerra has received four of five rounds of chemotherapy. Each time, he stays in the hospital for several weeks before returning home for 10 days of rest before the next round.

The student is keeping up with his coursework while out of school and should be able to re-engage with his class in the ninth grade in the fall.

“He’s got a good spirit, and the kids have been great trying to encourage him,” Janney said.

Reyes-Guerra’s treatments are expected to be completed in late spring, Briarwood Junior High Principal Mike Sanders said.

“Please continue to pray for Colin and his family as he goes through this difficult time,” Sanders urged the community.