Maine’s longest, continuous-running, charity, co-ed basketball event ‘virtual’ creativity raises $36,000 in ‘real’ funds for Maine Children’s Cancer Program

The weakest link, pictured in front of the hoop used to shoot free throws as part of the CU Swish-Out Childhood Cancer Challenge presented by Town & Country FCU, which was virtual this year. Pictured are, from left, Tony Nappi, Tyler Sterling and Danielle Sterling. The weakest link finished third in the league, with more than 30 adult and youth teams. An impressive $36,000 was raised for the Maine Children’s Cancer Program, bringing the 27-year total to over $600K. Courtesy photo

SCARBOROUGH — Faced with a pandemic and health protocols restricting or banning indoor gatherings, the 27th annual CU Swish-Out Childhood Cancer Challenge, hosted and presented by Town & Country Federal Credit Union, was in danger of being canceled for the first time in its history. However, based on feedback from previous participants and strong support from sponsors and volunteers, it was clear that the ‘shot’ had to go through. Instead of a one-day, 3-on-3, co-ed tournament for adults and youth teams, this year’s event turned into a ‘virtual’ 3-on-3, free-throw competition. The month-long “virtual” competition, which ran from April 12 to May 8, ultimately raised a whopping $36,000 in “real” funds to support the Maine Children’s Cancer Program.

“Our organizing committee met in February when it became clear that we couldn’t hold a personal tournament,” said Jon Paradise, Senior VP of Communications, Marketing and Community Outreach at Town & Country, and the tournament’s founder. “The choice was to either cancel or come up with a different format. Our group asked previous participants about a free throw competition where teams of three are still co-ed and each participant would shoot 50 free throws from anywhere and report their collective totals each week. Based on the totals, 75% of the teams continued each week and the other 25% were eliminated. In the final week, the finalists in each division competed for the bragging rights of first, second and third place. It was really fun with the strong support from participants and sponsors.”

For the first time in many years, Paradise itself formed a team that eventually took second place in the Adult Division.

While this year’s event was a great alternative given the circumstances, Paradise said there are plans to resume the event in person next year. “There is something special about seeing hundreds of participants and spectators gather for the event at USM in Gorham. We look forward to getting together again next year.”

Collectively, more than 30 teams participated in the 2021 events. The top three teams in the adult division were: Riley’s Basketball of Grey; Town & Country FCU for Three of Portland; and Durham’s weakest link. Top Three Teams in the Middle School Division: TCFCU’s Worth a Shot of Portland; Saco High School Rules; and above the edge of Scarborough. The top three teams in the 5/6th Grade Division were: The Three Bucketeers of Falmouth; The Falmouth Force of Falmouth; and The Backboard Counts of Sanford.

Town & Country FCU will host the event alongside a number of other major sponsors, including: Town & Country FCU; WEX; Next level solutions; cashier; Atlantic title company; MR Brouwer; PCH; Enterprise Rent-A-Car; Martin’s Point Healthcare Cumberland County FCU; Risbara Bros. Construction; CO-OP Financial Services; Bob’s Discount Furniture; Tricorp FCU; Ossipee Motor Sales; WGTECH; Epstein and Hunt; Airframe FCU; Clark Insurance; and WPOR 101.9.

Founded in 1994, the Swish-Out Childhood Cancer Challenge has now raised more than $600,000 for children with cancer and their families in the Maine Children’s Cancer Program, including an impressive $36,000 in 2021.

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