PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — A special basketball scrimmage was held recently in South Philadelphia to raise money and awareness for children with a deadly and debilitating disorder.
The Hoops For Hunter’s event brought kids together to play basketball to help other children with a disease called Hunter syndrome.
Aiden Marinoff might be too little to make a basket on his own, but the 2-year-old boy got some help from one of the big kids.
Aiden and 3-year-old Ethan Lieber were the featured guests at Meredith Elementary School for a basketball scrimmage to benefit the boys who have Hunter syndrome.
The event raised money to support research for Hunter syndrome.
The elementary students at Meredith played with the state champs from Neumann Goretti High School.
Ethan’s mother Emily was a first grade teacher at Meredith and is raising money for research, hoping to find better treatments for the genetic disorder.
“It’s a slow regression that will eventually result in most kids passing before the age of 15,” she said.
It’s mostly boys who are diagnosed with the rare disorder that slowly destroys the body.
“They’ll eventually stop talking, stop eating, they will have complications with their airways,” said Emily.
Marielle Marinoff started a foundation called Sock It To Hunter Syndrome after her son Aiden was diagnosed with the disorder.
“It’s heartbreaking, absolutely devastating,” says Marinoff. “It’s just very hard to think about what’s going to happen a few years down the line, so we try to live in the present as much as possible.”
The boys wear hearing aids and have speech difficulties, which is one of the first signs of Hunter syndrome.
But they keep busy playing, for now, while other students come together to have fun for a good cause.
Hoops For Hunter’s raised $10,000 for the foundation, which is helping to fund a research project testing an infusion that could cure the disorder.