Jesup grannies play basketball for a cause - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Jesup grannies play basketball for a cause

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Reed Havlik, 4, has Vanishing White Matter Disease. Reed Havlik, 4, has Vanishing White Matter Disease.
Mason Gonzalez, 6, was born with Angelman Syndrome. Mason Gonzalez, 6, was born with Angelman Syndrome.

A few grey hairs and a couple of knee replacements aren't keeping Jesup's finest grandmas from running, well, walking the court for a good cause.  That's because granny basketball has some very strict rules, including no running, no jumping, only two dribbles, and lots of ways to foul out.

"You can do things like yell in somebody's face because you get a foul for ungranny-like conduct. Not that I would know anything about that. But I got the foul for ungranny-like conduct," said player Rita Smith. 

The women put in their last practice Wednesday night, before the big game Thursday in Jesup.  For some players, they're stepping on the court to check their opponents and their bucket list.

"I just love everything about it. I never played basketball in high school. I am the class of '57, so we didn't have girl's basketball then," said player Joyce Donlea-Schmitt.

Other players were brought in to put this game on ice, like Maynard's 1950 Iowa State High School Basketball Champions, and sisters, Dorothy and Anna Kay.

"I put my elbows up like this and I thought 'Oh my gosh.' Never even thought about it," said Dorothy Fettkether-Wenger.

"All those habits come back," said Anna Kay Fettkether-Woodson.

 "We had good coaches, so we are probably rougher than most of them. We had to play hard if we were going to win state," said Wenger.

But competition aside, Thursday's game is about two young Jesup boys who live life to the fullest, despite their challenges.

Mason Gonzalez, 6, was born with Angelman Syndrome. Reed Havlik, 4, has Vanishing White Matter disease. Both are life-threatening medical conditions that have affected the boys' development and motor skills.

"We are just blown away at the love that they have for our child," said Mason's mother, Amy Gonzalez. "I never would have dreamed that we would be watching granny basketball for our son and Reed. The love that is being shown to us is amazing."

The grannies are inviting the Cedar Valley to cheer them on, Thursday at 6 p.m. in the Jesup Community School's gym. Admission is $4.00.

The money from admission and a silent auction will be donated to national foundations that research treatments and cures for the boys' medical conditions.

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