Hanover: A Shot for Life Benefits Cancer Research

At the University Sports Complex in Hanover, the top basketball players from around the state gathered for the fifth A Shot for Life Challenge.

It’s a charity event, with proceeds going to the Dr. Curry Research Laboratory at Massachusetts General Hospital and Children’s Hospital.

Mike Slonina started the event after a cancer scare too close to home.

“My mom was diagnosed with a brain tumor that was thought to be malignant and cancerous,” said Slonina. “It turned out not to be, thankfully. She is a small percentage of the people who have that case for a diagnosis. This organization was built for all of the people who are not as lucky as my family.”

The event has taken leaps and bounds since Slonina shot for 24 hours straight at the Catholic Memorial gym in 2011 – shortly after his mother’s initial diagnosis.

“Basketball has always been my escape, my whole life,” said the 24-year-old Slonina.

Over $150,000 has been raised since the challenge started. On Saturday in Hanover, 15 of the top high school players in the state took to the floor.

While it wasn’t a 24-hour test, the players shot for two hours in a mix of long-range, mid-range, and free-throw shots.

On the boys’ side, Thomas Shaughnessy from Needham was named “Best Shooter in Massachusetts,” with a 91% shooting percentage.

Boston College High School senior Travis Evee was second with 81.58%. Evee, a Randolph native, raised over $1,000 for the cause.

“It’s one thing to be called “Greatest Shooter in the State,” but another thing to do it for a great cause too,” said Evee. “The thing Mike [Slonina] does here is unbelievable, and I can’t wait until next year.”

On the girls’ side, Emma Forbes from Bishop Feehan shot 81.81% to win “Best Shooter.” Braintree native Keelah Dixon was just behind with 80.48%.

Two former teammates from the South Shore were among those in the tournament.

Cassie Caldwell, a soon to be a senior at Marshfield High School, raised over $2,000 in her two years competing.

“It’s been really inspirational. My mom had cancer at one point, his mom had a cancer scare at one point,” said Cassie Caldwell. “It feels great to be one of those people that could make a difference in someone else’s life.”

At a basketball clinic with Scituate native, Annabelle Larnard, Caldwell was able to hit her goal.

“I think it’s really cool and it’s really inspiring,” said Larnard, a senior at Fontbonne Academy. “A lot of people don’t realize even little things like raising money or spreading awareness can really make a difference.”

The challenge on Saturday is just among the many programs run by a Shot for Life. The ASFL Gauntlet, a 24-hour game, will be held in November.

Slonina hopes to keep making an impact in cancer research.

“My goal is for a Shot for Life to be raising millions of dollars,” said Slonina. “I think we’re well on our way there.”

For more information about A Shot for Life, visit ashotforlife.org.

The competitors from the girls' side. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

The competitors from the girls’ side. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

Scituate native Annabelle Larnard, who attends Fontbonne Academy. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

Scituate native Annabelle Larnard, who attends Fontbonne Academy. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

Marshfield senior Cassie Caldwell. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

Marshfield senior Cassie Caldwell. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

Emma Forbes (Bishop Feehan) won "Best Shooter," Braintree's Keelah Dixon (right), and Maddie Mullin from Beaver Country Day (left).

Emma Forbes (Bishop Feehan) won “Best Shooter,” Braintree’s Keelah Dixon (right), and Maddie Mullin from Beaver Country Day (left).

Randolph native and BC High senior, Travis Evee. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

Randolph native and BC High senior, Travis Evee. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

CEO of A Shot for Life Mike Slonina and Travis Evee. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

CEO of A Shot for Life Mike Slonina and Travis Evee. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

The competitors from the boys' side. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.

The competitors from the boys’ side. Photo credit: Lenny Rowe.


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About Lenny Rowe

Lenny Rowe is one of the newest additions to the WATD News team. He grew up in Pembroke and was an intern at WATD in 2012. A 2016 graduate from Suffolk University, Lenny left the City of Boston and now lives in Rockland. Lenny has covered both news and sports, from the trial of James "Whitey" Bulger to the Boston Bruins at TD Garden. Outside of WATD, Lenny covers high school sports for The Boston Globe. Lenny can be reached at Lenny.Rowe30@Gmail.com