Rockin' donation for Hoops for Life - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Rockin' donation for Hoops for Life

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Bret Michaels presented KGMO's Program Director Kevin Casey with a check for $5,000. Casey helped orchestrate the donation in which will go directly to Hoops for Life. Bret Michaels presented KGMO's Program Director Kevin Casey with a check for $5,000. Casey helped orchestrate the donation in which will go directly to Hoops for Life.
Several years ago Sahara Aldridge managed to captivate the Heartland with her smile and her story. Several years ago Sahara Aldridge managed to captivate the Heartland with her smile and her story.
To date, Hoops for Life has raised more than $100,000 for pediatric cancer research at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University. To date, Hoops for Life has raised more than $100,000 for pediatric cancer research at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University.
SIKESTON, MO (KFVS) - All eyes were on center stage Saturday night at the Sikeston Jaycee Bootheel Rodeo. Organizers say the numbers are still rolling in, but it's safe to say there were more than 11,000 people rocking it out with Bret Michaels.

Michaels, the former lead singer for Poison, brought with him to the stage a sense of nostalgia for those who came to watch his performance. He belted out all of the classics, giving the near sell out crowd their money's worth.

While the show was all about entertainment, a large donation by the rock star demonstrated the importance of giving back to local communities.

Bret Michaels presented KGMO's Program Director Kevin Casey with a check for $5,000. Casey helped orchestrate the donation in which will go directly to Hoops for Life.

Hoops for Life is the brainchild of Shannon and Amy Aldridge of Cape Girardeau. Several years ago their daughter, Sahara, managed to captivate the Heartland with her smile and her story.

She became the center of attention as she battled the brain tumor that was robbing her of the childhood.

She once told me (Crystal Britt) that she didn't understand why the news wanted to do a story about her being sick. I remember grabbing her hand saying, "It's because so many people love you and care about you." I told her other people needed to hear her story because she was an amazing inspiration.

Not once, through my eyes or the lens of the camera, did we witness defeat or sadness through young Sahara. She fought bravely and with purpose.

Sahara died in November of 2007.

I remember calling her parents...dreading to speak to them about a loss I could not imagine.

They, without hesitation, invited me and my camera to their home.

We talked about Sahara, her life, and her legacy.

The story did not end with her memorial tribute.

The Aldridge family refused to sit on the sidelines.

Their daughter was a fearless basketball player. Everyone called her "Hoops." She had a passion for the game and an even bigger passion for life.

Shannon and Amy, through their grief, organized their first Hoops for Life 5K Run/Walk.

It was a success, and soon became a summer tradition.

Before Sahara's death, rock star and family friend Rick Springfield performed a benefit concert for Sahara.

He then returned to Cape Girardeau in 2007, only to sing and play his guitar at Sahara's memorial service.

Springfield came back in 2012 to perform another concert, this time for Hoops for Life.

The concert was a big success, as have been every Hoops for Life adventure.

In fact, the most recent race in July was the biggest ever. Runners and walkers shattered previous attendance records, with more than 700 people taking part in the event.

Shannon and Amy Aldridge are longtime fans of Bret Michaels.

Through getting to know the couple, it's easy to see they love rock-n-roll. There probably isn't an 80s or 90s hair band that they haven't seen in concert, or know most of the words to all the classic tunes.

That's why the gift Saturday night from Michaels meant even more.

The $5,000 gift is from his Life Rocks Foundation.

As a news reporter it's easier to just report the news and not get emotionally involved with the people you interview.

But, that's impossible.

The Aldridge family changed my life.

When you look into a parent's eyes who is scared to death that cancer make take away their only child...if you are human, you cannot begin to pretend that moment never happened.

When you hold the hand of a sweet little girl who is uncertain of what the future will hold, you cannot begin to pretend that moment never happened.

When you sit in a church at that young lady's funeral, you cannot begin to pretend that moment never happened.

When you attend, year after year, Hoops for Life events in honor of that child and future children and their families...you cannot begin to pretend that moment never happened.

Someone once said in life, we get "God winks" every now and then to let us know that life is worth living and that there really are good people in this world.

While a monetary donation from a rock star is not the biggest thing to happen, it truly rocked one family's world.

That large donation could someday help another family not live through the pain they experienced.

That "wink" may just have been what they needed to press on to something bigger and better...perhaps that affirmation to keep fighting the fight.

To date, Hoops for Life has raised more than $100,000 for pediatric cancer research at Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford University.

To find out more about the organization, visit www.hoopsforlife.net

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