By Walter J. O’Neill, Jr
Ocean Township — It was a breath of fresh air to attend the 1st Annual Mya Hoops Classic basketball games at Ocean Township High School on Fe. 1. The games were organized in remembrance of Mya Lin Terry, who passed away at the tender age of 10, after battling cancer for nearly six years.
Mya would have been a member of the Ocean Township High School Class of 2020. For many years the Mya’s Cup has been an annual fundraising game organized by the girls’ soccer team at the high school. This year, the boys’ basketball team decided to host the 1st Annual Mya’s Hoops Classic. They invited Shore Regional High School to participate in a doubleheader.
“Welcome to the 1st ever Mya’s Hoop Classic. We are so happy that Shore Regional is able to share this special day and event with us. Their support means so much,” said Kelly Terry, Mya’s mom. Kelly is also a graduate of OTHS Class of 1985 and President of the Mya Lin Terry Foundation. “After battling cancer for five and half years, Mya gained her angel wings on April 10, 2013 at the age of 10. Mya continues to inspire us to make a difference and what better way to continue to honor Mya’s memory than to support other pediatric cancer warriors in our community.”
Pediatric cancer is not rare. In fact, Monmouth County has the third highest rate of cancer in the state. “We believe there is something going on here, whether it is caused by contaminated soil, air quality or water quality, for some reason our children have a higher rate of cancer than most other places,” said Kelly. She is also leading the Monmouth County “Go Gold” effort. It has been documented that our county’s proximity to water pollution from New York City, left over superfund sites at Fort Monmouth and the Deal Test Site might have a correlation to higher cancer rates.
Mya Linn Terry Foundation has helped 12 local children who have or were battling cancer. Kelly listed the cancer warriors helped by the foundation; Lily, class of 2034, Carter, class of 2032, Ollie, 2033, Xander, class of 2022, Augustus, class of 2022, Toril, class of 2022, Alyssal class of 2017, Alisonl, class of 2019 and Jake, class of 2020.
“Our angels were Mya class 2020, Logan 2025, and Matthew 2022,” added Kelly.
This year, the foundation will be helping Ollie Daneshagar. “We are showing our love and support for an Ocean Township resident and son of an OTHS teacher, Bethany,” Kelly said.
Before the start of the first game several of the Ocean Township players presented Ollie with a game ball. “This is what I hope to be the start of a fantastic tradition here at Ocean and I am proud to be a part of it, kids helping kids, and kicking cancer’s butt, one hoop, one game, at a time,” Kelly added.