Friday, April 29, 2011

Making "A Shot for Life"

24-hour effort: Curry, left, and Slonina at the court

Most people would be tired after playing basketball for more than an hour. But for 18-year-old Mike Slonina, an hour was just a fraction of the time he spent on the basketball court at Catholic Memorial High School in West Roxbury on April 9. Slonina was aiming to continuously shoot basketballs for 24 hours to raise support for the MGH Brain Tumor Center.

Slonina's cause was personal. His mother, Betsy Cullen, was diagnosed with a brain tumor in February 2010. The tumor, which is believed to be benign, is too deeply embedded to safely biopsy, so her MGH physicians, Elizabeth Gerstner, MD, and William Curry, MD, both of MGH Neuro-Oncology, are monitoring it.

"I don't have siblings, so it's always been just me and my mom," Slonina says. "She's doing better right now, and her prognosis looks good. This fundraiser is for all of those people whose lives are on the line or who are struggling with the uncertainty that comes with having a brain tumor."

Slonina steadily met his goal and tossed 8,101 shots, making 5,930 baskets from noon on April 9 through noon on April 10. To date, he has raised $12,500, and all of the proceeds support the research lab directed by Curry, who is hoping to find new treatments for both benign and malignant brain tumors.

For more information about the event and Slonina's efforts, access

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