Prep Basketball

Linn-Mar's Alzheimer's basketball game has special meaning for Xavier, too

HS journalism: Rivalry game takes back seat to raising money, awareness

Linn-Mar's Macey Miller, pointing to a teammate after making a 3-pointer in this 2017 photo, came up with the idea of ho
Linn-Mar’s Macey Miller, pointing to a teammate after making a 3-pointer in this 2017 photo, came up with the idea of hosting an Alzheimer’s game at the school. (The Gazette)

CEDAR RAPIDS — It is not too often opponents come together and unite over a cause.

However, Xavier and Linn-Mar high schools were able to do just that month.

On Dec. 13, Linn-Mar hosted its second annual Alzheimer’s game. This year, Xavier was fortunate to be the Lions’ opponent.

This event was started by a Linn-Mar parent, Todd Miller. Alzheimer’s is a disease that hits home for him and his family.

“My oldest daughter Macey was the one who came up with the idea,” Miller said. “Macey’s grandmother Diane, my mother, has late stage Alzheimer’s. It is heart wrenching for me to see her now, sitting in the gym each Tuesday and Friday night having no idea that the granddaughters that she has poured so much love into over the years are on the court playing their hearts out.”

Last year, the game was held on Jan. 15 and, despite the poor weather conditions, they were able to raise a lot of money.

“Last year we were able to raise $1,000 and this year we hope to exceed our goal of $2,000 for the Alzheimer’s Association,” Miller said.

Miller is not the only person affected by this disease, of course. Fighting Alzheimer’s also is important to many others, including Xavier sophomore basketball player Mary Kate Moeder. Her father, Tony, was diagnosed with frontotemporal dementia (FTD) in 2017.

Being able to play in this game is very special to her.

“I’m truly honored I get the opportunity to be a part of this game because this cause is very important to me,” Moeder said. “The most beneficial thing you can do is raise awareness. This could not be a better event to support the fight in ending these diseases.”

Moeder hopes other people will feel the impact this game has on people in situations like hers.

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“I hope everyone can see the community that is coming together for this cause,” Moeder said. “At the end of the day, it’s not about the rivalry or the names written on the jerseys but the fact that everyone is there for the same reason — to fight Alzheimer’s and dementia.

“That is most important, and it’s so meaningful to me, but also to so many other people.”

The Xavier girls’ team is at Dubuque Senior tonight while the boys host the Rams. Linn-Mar’s girls’ team hosts Jefferson while the boys’ play at Jefferson.

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