Student organizes basketball charity tournament to raise money for children battling cancer

Elizabeth Huang

A UT student organized a student-run basketball charity tournament Saturday in memory of her father, raising approximately $450 for children with cancer.

About 40 students from universities around Texas gathered to play in a men’s basketball tournament and raise money for the fight against pediatric cancer. The event was hosted by Dr. Qadri’s Cancer Heroes, a charity founded in 2014 by nutrition senior Zara Qadri to help children battling cancer. 

“My dad was an oncologist … and he passed away two and a half years ago,” Qadri said. “Since he dealt with cancer patients, I wanted to start an organization [in his memory]. So our main focus is raising money for kids with cancer, helping them out financially and for research.”

The tournament consisted of ten teams with three to four men on each team. All proceeds from the event were given to the American Cancer Society for research, treatment and prevention programs, said Afra Nehal, architectural engineering junior and the organization’s director of donor relations.

The organization decided to put on a basketball tournament as a fundraising event because it drew a larger crowd than previous smaller events like a bake sale, Qadri said.

“Everyone likes sporting events,” Qadri said. “People come out to watch. People come out to play. We thought it was a great way to raise money and have fun at the same time.”

Sheheryaar Qazi, an economics senior and member of the team Hand Down Man Down, said he participated in the event because it was a chance to have fun and support children facing cancer.

“It is such a good cause, it made sense to join it,” Qazi said. “There’s no reason to not play. We lost, but it was for a good cause. I met some nice people and it was a good time.”

The final match was between team We Dem Boyz and team Fortune Cookie, said Saad Rahman, the team captain and business student from the University of Houston. Team Fortune Cookie won the tournament with a final score of 37-29.

The team, composed of two UT students and two University of Houston students, was an example of how a good cause can bring people together, Nehal said.

“We have people from UT, UH and Texas State here,” said Nehal. “I think it’s cool that this goes beyond UT.”