September 7, 2021 by Carol Britton Meyer
Family and friends of Janice Mannion continue to honor her memory by organizing and participating in the annual Hingham Knock Out Cancer basketball competitions to raise awareness and funds to fight breast cancer.
The fundraiser -- which was inspired by Mannion as she battled cancer and supports cancer care and research through the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Jimmy Fund -- is now in its 12th year.
The event will be held Saturday, Sept. 18, at the South Shore Sports Center, 55 Recreation Park Dr. Janice's husband, John, and fellow Hingham resident Jim Brady co-chair the event.
In 2010, when Janice was first diagnosed with breast cancer, the fourth-grade travel basketball team that included their son, Conall, and Warren Pelissier's son, Owen, wanted to show their support for Janice. (The Mannions also have a son, Jack.) The KOC event was the outcome of that desire.
Pelissier is the President of the Special Needs Athletic Partnership (SNAP), which is a non-profit organization that provides athletic and recreational activities for South Shore children and young adults with special needs and different abilities.
Each year more than 150 girls and boys and women and men participate and bid on silent auction items. More information about the auction will be available as the day of the event approaches. Those wishing to donate an item(s) are asked to email [email protected]m.
SNAP participants, mentors, and families will compete for the first time this year at Mannion's suggestion.
"SNAP has always participated by making a donation, because it's a great event to support," Pelissier said. "This year we thought the kids from our basketball program would like to take part to help break down barriers and to foster more inclusion among the kids and their parents."
Although Janice passed on in March 2016, the tradition of continuing the fight with the hope of one day beating cancer continues, as those who know and love her know was her desire.
"People enjoyed participating in KOC, so we kept doing it except last year during the pandemic, when the event was cancelled. We raised $10,000 anyway," Mannion said.
About $165,000 has been raised for the Jimmy Fund since the inception of this annual event. In 2019, KOC was inducted into the Jimmy Fund Hall of Fame.
This year, KOC will run from 4:45 to 8:15 p.m. on Sept. 18 and will include a silent auction and Knock Out and Hot Shot contests for girls, boys, and adults.
Hot Shot is a basketball skills competition that involves shooting baskets from "hot spots" marked on a portion of the basketball court. This competition tests speed, shooting, dribbling, and rebounding ability within a series of time periods.
Here's the schedule:
* 4:45 to 5:45 p.m., SNAP Knock Out and Hot Shot
* 5:45 to 6:45 p.m., Adult Knock Out and Hot Shot
* 6:45 to 7:30 p.m., Middle and High School Knock Out and Hot Shot
* 7:30 to 8:15 p.m., Open Division Knock Out for girls, boys, women, and men of all ages.
The KOC, which usually takes place in the spring, will move back to that timeframe next year. "We're holding it in September this year because we got off to a late start due to the pandemic," Mannion said.
He expressed appreciation for the South Shore Sports Center for donating the space for the event, and Pelissier for the Center's support of the SNAP program.
"We're happy to be involved with the upcoming KOC and to participate in such a worthy cause," Pelissier said.
The Worthwhile Life foundation, which is affiliated with the Hingham-based Mohawk Rubber Sales company, has made a donation to the KOC cause a number of times.
"We appreciate the support of the Hingham community and beyond, and we're glad to be back," Mannion said.
Brady echoed Mannion's appreciation. I’m impressed every year by the number of people who volunteer, donate and participate," he said. "They bring positive energy and commitment to the cause. It’s a fun community event."
Visit https://koc2021.eventbrite.com for more details, to register, make a donation, or buy a KOC t-shirt. South Shore Bank provides the t-shirts. Participation in the KOC is not limited to Hingham residents. All proceeds benefit the Jimmy Fund.
Kaitlyn Butler, who is involved with event fundraising for the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and The Jimmy Fund, told the Hingham Anchor that it has been a privilege to join the Knock Out Cancer event over the past few years "and to see how much this event has grown even prior to my joining the team. John and Jim, along with the planning committee, pour so much energy and passion into this event each year."
In turn, there is an outpouring of support from the community. "Knock Out Cancer has raised tens of thousands of dollars to support the well-being of our patients at the Jimmy Fund Clinic," Butler said. "We are grateful for their continued commitment to Dana-Farber and look forward to rejoining everyone on the court this year."