Update, April 13:
You can now order your Win For Gianna bracelets and send donations through Paypal.
Anthony Donahue is holding a Pre-Playoff fundraiser for Gianna on April 15 at Hype Lounge. Expect silent auction to include Landry Fields autographed sneakers, Steiner Sports memorabilia, and Mets tickets. To help spread word about Gianna’s cancer (and to wish her in speedy recovery), tweet using the hashtag #WinForGianna.
Gianna is an eleven year old girl; her Facebook page says she likes Rihanna, Eminem, and the television show Psych. She lists the Knicks as her favorite basketball team. She was just a normal pre-teenager.
Then in the summer of 2010, she was diagnosed with brain cancer. Her brother, Anthony Donahue (the host of The Knicks Blog Radio), shared her story with his listeners and continuously gave updates on the latest news and progress of Gianna on his show.
What happened next was amazing.
People cared. Cared a lot. Fans of the show called in and prayed for Gianna, even though they had never met her. They bought t-shirts supporting Donahue’s show and wore them at Knick home games (the proceeds would eventually end up paying for fees insurance did not cover). This was not about Carmelo Anthony or Amar’e Stoudemire or being a good basketball team. This was about people helping people.
When one member of the Knicks family went down, the rest of the fan base did not stutter in picking her up. While her cancer has led her from the finest hospitals of New York City to the Boston area, she has not let up her positivity in fighting and beating the illness.
“The chemo was pretty hard, but I got through it,” said Gianna, in a phone interview with Knicks Vision. “The hardest was having to cut my hair.
And then something else amazing happened.
Anthony Donahue was asked by a few of his followers what they could do to spread the word and tweet about Gianna’s cause. He came up with the hashtag #WinForGianna and started to spread it around the web. People took notice. In little under a week, some of the city’s most influential Knicks voices joined in to help raise awareness (including Spike Lee, Landry Fields, Allan Houston, and Brandon Tierney).
“Having the support from my family and the Knicks is the best thing to come out of it,” said the eleven year old fighter. “I can still go to games, and I can still have a normal life.”
The trend started before the Magic game on Monday, March 28. The Knicks won that one and every game since. They have yet to lose since they’ve starting “winning for Gianna” – a winning streak that lasted seven games.
The Knicks haven’t lost their chances at winning come playoff time, and if they achieve a second round berth, it will be because of the extraordinary lessons Gianna has taught the team: that of family and togetherness.