The Elizabeth High School chapter of the student group FCCLA — Family, Community and Career Leaders of America — hosted the seventh annual Hunter’s Legacy basketball tournament on March 11. The event raised more than $4,000 of its $6,000 goal, and the money will go toward alleviating the devastation of the 2021-2022 Boulder County fires.
The EHS gym was crammed with spectators and participants as 15 teams competed in a double-elimination basketball tournament. Teams were self-organized, mostly consisting of Elizabeth High School students. However, anyone could participate. Some teams were comprised of adults and middle school students. Many teams were also coed.
Of the 15 teams, the Brick Layers came out on top. The winning team took home a basketball signed by the event volunteers as well as Sonic Drive-In gift cards.
“The event was very successful. Though we didn’t reach our fundraising goal, people were having a lot of fun and they were enjoying themselves,” said FCCLA President Shandie Schubauer. “It was my first year organizing an event of this scale. FCCLA was very coordinated this year and we had so many great hands on deck.”
The Hunter’s Legacy Basketball Tournament is named for former Elizabeth High School student Hunter Neelley. Neelley was diagnosed with osteosarcoma — a form of bone cancer — in May 2010 and passed away after a long battle with the disease on Oct. 12, 2014. The annual tournament is held to raise money for a cause in Neelley’s name.
The tournament was canceled last year due to COVID-19, but was back this year as FCCLA hopes to continue the Hunter’s Legacy charity basketball tournament for the foreseeable future.
FCCLA First Vice President Liv O’Neal addressed the audience prior to the start of the tournament. She shared a piece of writing by Neelley to help share his legacy.
During her reading, O’Neal began to cry, taking several pauses throughout.
“I never met Hunter personally,” said O’Neal in a short text interview after the tournament. “But our families, especially our moms, have always been close friends. I’ve always had an amazing relationship with his mom. It was an extremely emotional thing for me to get up there and be one of the people letting him know that we still think of him and that we’ll always love him.”
Neelley’s written piece, “3 Things I’m Thankful For,” reads as follows:
I am thankful for many things, but there are three things that I’m most thankful for. I’m thankful for moving to Elizabeth, my brother, and getting cancer.
I am thankful for moving because our old house was small and boring. If we didn’t move, we wouldn’t have met all our new friends. We would not have a big yard. My mom wouldn’t be a bus driver. I’m so thankful for moving.
I am so thankful for having a brother because he’s always there for me when I need him. If I didn’t have a brother, I would have no one to play with. I wouldn’t be doing sports. I wouldn’t have someone to pull me through the hard times like when I got cancer. I am so thankful for my brother.
The last think that I am thankful for is cancer even though it’s been rough. I’ve still had amazing things happen. I wouldn’t have met friends in the hospital. I wouldn’t have gotten an Xbox. I wouldn’t have spent more time with my brother. I wouldn’t have had some of the most amazing experiences I am having now. I am so thankful for getting cancer even though it’s so hard.