By Jean DePlacido
Ed Gieras knows how to put the ball in the hoop, and the Danvers resident will being shooting for a cure in the Huntington's Disease Hoop-A-Thon on Saturday at Lexington High.
Huntington's has hit the Gieras family hard. Ed lost his father and two brothers to the disease, which he has been battling since 2004. While his life is difficult, Gieras is more concerned with his children. The father of three is raising money in hopes of finding a cure so future generations will be spared.
Gieras was an outstanding basketball player for Danvers and later Salem State. The 1975 Danvers grad still holds the school record for most points in a single game, and his prolific 45-point outburst is likely to stand for another 37 years. He is also the only Falcon male to score 1,000 points.
"I started doing the Hoop-A-Thon back in 1992 when my brothers were suffering from Huntington's," said the former salesman, who had to stop working five years ago. "My son Kyle did it with me for three or four years. I stopped for a while, not making every event, but have participated the last five years. It's a lot of fun for a very good cause."
Kristen Gieras, Ed's daughter, helps him by doing the rebounding. The event was previously held at Boston College with a lot of the Eagles' students taking part. This year the Lexington High basketball team will help out.
Michael Hennessey has gone with Gieras and taken part in the Hoop-A-Thon many times. Hennessey and Gieras also enjoy going to Danvers High games. Basketball writer Jackie McMullin is a supporter of the fight against Huntington's and often makes an appearance at the annual event.
"Ed has raised a lot of money over the years," said his wife Susan, who will be there with him. "Any donation, large or small, is welcome. Even if people can only give a dollar or two we really appreciate it."
Anyone wishing to donate can go to www.firstgiving.com/fundraiser/ed-gieras or send a check made out to HDSA-MA and mail it to HDSA , 6 Boston Rd. Suite 203A, Chelmsford, MA. Be sure to put Ed Gieras's name on it.