MINNEAPOLIS – Four patients from M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital have been selected as Honorary Tipoff Kids for the Big Ten Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament semifinals, while the Big Ten Conference has also partnered with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to grant the wish of a young cancer patient during Sunday’s championship game.
Kennedy Olson, Ricardo Davis, Jr., and Amaris and Arianna Williams were chosen by the children’s hospital’s care team to serve as the Honorary Tipoff Kids and will receive a Big Ten gift bag and participate in pregame activities before each of Saturday’s semifinal round games.
As an infant, Kennedy was frequently ill with respiratory symptoms, but with the help of Dr. Sam Goldfarb and his team at M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital, Kennedy can control her symptoms with inhaled medications and preventative oral medications. Because of the care they provide, her symptoms have been very well controlled, and she has been able to avoid recurrent infections and hospitalization, so she can focus on playing basketball and swimming at the lake with her family and friends.
Ricardo is an adventurous eight-year-old boy living with sickle cell disease. Ricardo enjoys engaging in sports such as basketball and football. He loves collecting hot wheels, building LEGOs, and watching Marvel Movies. Ricardo, who aspires to be an engineer and artist, and his family would like to thank his team of providers at M Health Fairview Masonic Children’s Hospital and the countless blood donors who have contributed to his wellness.
Seven-year-old Amaris and her three-year-old sister Arianna were both born with sickle cell disease, a blood disorder that can cause severe pain. With the help of Dr. Julia Marka and the rest of their care team, Amaris and Arianna have been able to turn their collective focus back to their favorite activities, which include gymnastics, singing and dancing.
The Big Ten Conference will provide seven-year-old Minneapolis native Mariam a boost experience before her wish is granted. The young basketball fan, who will complete her treatment in the next few weeks, will receive a Big Ten gift bag and participate in pregame activities during Sunday’s championship game. Mariam will also get to experience the postgame championship ceremony from the main court.
The 2023 Big Ten Women’s Basketball Tournament presented by TIAA marks the 30th in conference history. This will also be the first time since 2015 the tournament has been played outside Indianapolis, making its inaugural appearance in Minneapolis at the Target Center, home of the four-time WNBA champion Minnesota Lynx and the NBA’s Minnesota Timberwolves.
Tickets for this weekend’s semifinal and championship games remain on sale through AXS.com and the Target Center box office, with further details on the tournament available online at the official Tournament Central web site (bigten.org/WBBT).
Big Ten Conference (bigten.org) is an association of world-class universities whose member institutions share a common mission of research, graduate, professional and undergraduate teaching, and public service. Founded in 1896, Big Ten Conference has sustained a comprehensive set of shared practices and policies that enforce the priority of academics in the lives of students competing in intercollegiate athletics and emphasize the values of integrity, fairness, and competitiveness. The broad-based programs of the 14 Big Ten Conference institutions will provide over $200 million in direct financial support to more than 9,800 students for more than 11,000 participation opportunities on 350 teams in 42 different sports. Big Ten Conference sponsors 28 official conference sports, 14 for men and 14 for women, including the addition of men’s ice hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse since 2013.