'RYBA Hoops for Tabetha'

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Each year, the Riverside Youth Basketball League hosts a coaches versus parents fundraiser game as a way of giving back and teaching its young members the importance of its motto: "friends, family and community."

This year's game, slated for Friday, April 5, at 6:30 p.m., at the Riverside High School will benefit Riverside junior Tabetha Saylock, who is currently battling idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis interstitial lung disease.

"Every year when we have our parents versus coaches game we try to reach out to someone in the community that needs help," said Jim Armillay, director of basketball operations for the league. "This year we wanted to reach out to Tabetha. We knew that she was someone in the school that needed help with her medical bills."

For Saylock's mom Karen, learning the organization wanted to help them with the family's situation was heartwarming.

"The community has been great," she said. "That even includes all the kids. I have never seen so many helpful kids."

"Kids are what they are brought up to be," added Tabetha's dad, Greg.

For Tabetha, who was diagnosed last July at Children's Hospital in Philadelphia, adjusting to her illness has been challenging, but she wants to remain positive.

"You just want to be treated like everyone else," she said. "If someone asks me why I'm on oxygen, I'll tell them. But only if they ask."

"It is what it is," she added. "I try to live life as though I don't have this."

There is no admission to the game, however, donations will be accepted at the door. There will also be T-shirts, basket raffles, 50/50s and food sales during the event, with all proceeds to help offset Saylock's medical care.

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