Five Tommies Join Alumnus for April 18 Hoop-a-Thon to Fight Huntington's Disease

B.J. Viau '09 at last year's Hoop-A-Thon

B.J. Viau '09 at last year's Hoop-A-Thon (Photo credit: Greg Smith)

University of St. Thomas alumnus B.J. Viau ’09 and his family will host their 13th annual Twin Cities Hoop-A-Thon fundraiser to benefit the Huntington's Disease Society of America from 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday, April 18, at Eastview High School, 6200 140th St. W., Apple Valley.

This year, five UST students – Destiny Clifford, Jonna Hadaway, Alex Healy, Cori Johnson, Josh Peltier and  Caitlin Rick –  are lending a hand for the fundraiser, providing voluntary marketing, public relations, graphic design and communications work for the event.

"This has been a great opportunity for us to get career experience and do something that really makes a difference," Peltier said. "We hope everybody turns out on the 18th!"

Debbie Viau, B.J.'s mom, takes a turn at the 2009 Twin Cities Hoop-A-Thon.

Debbie Viau, B.J.'s mom, takes a turn at the 2009 Twin Cities Hoop-A-Thon. (Photo credit: Greg Smith)

Huntington's Disease is a hereditary, degenerative brain disorder that gradually diminishes a person's ability to walk, think, talk and reason. B.J.'s  mother, Debbie, was diagnosed with the disease when B.J. was in elementary school; his grandfather and great-grandmother also had Huntington's. Shortly after Debbie's diagnosis, the Viaus hosted their first Hoop-A-Thon. They raised $6,000. Since then, the event has grown from a small gathering of family and friends to an event that annually draws more than 500 people and raises more than $40,000. By the time B.J., who played varsity basketball at St. Thomas, finished college last year, he and his family had raised nearly a half-million dollars.

The Twin Cities Hoop-A-Thon is a fun-filled afternoon with a free-throw contest as its centerpiece. Participants of all ages sign up in advance and collect pledges for every basket they shoot. There's also special entertainment, carnival games, face painting, a silent auction, prizes and refreshments.

Sponsors and participants are still welcome, or you can donate online. For more information, call Josh Peltier, (651) 271-1613.