SOUTH PARIS, Maine (NEWS CENTER) - The smallest fan of the Oxford Hills girls basketball team has become their biggest inspiration.
Two-year old Cody Bean, who's the second cousin of Lady Vikings leading scorer Anna Winslow, is battling neuroblastoma. It's the most common infantile cancer that comprises six to ten percent of all childhood cancers, and 15% of cancer deaths in children. Approximately 650 cases occur annually in the U.S. It most frequently originates in one of the adrenal glands, but can also develop in nerve tissues in the neck, chest, abdomen, or pelvis. Cody was diagnosed at Stage 4, meaning the tumor had spread throughout his body to distant lymph nodes, bone marrow, bone, liver, or other organs. He's had several surgeries, multiple rounds of chemotherapy, and other treatments.
The girls basketball team in Oxford Hills has one charitable initiative each year and instead of raising money for a group or an organization. They raised proceeds to help with Cody's medical care.
Their fundraiser was a shoot-a-thon: "Wishin & Swisihn' for Cody's Cure." Each girl found sponsors to donate either flat sum or a per-free throw made total. Collectively, they donated $2,000. The team is currently selling "Bean Strong" T-shirts with all the proceeds going to the Bean family.
There was also a community benefit dinner, dance, and auction, which raised approximately $17,000.
Given Cody's condition and weakened immune system, he can't attend any basketball games like he did the season before. He still keeps in touch with the girls by sending them photos and wishing them luck via Facebook.
For those looking to purchase a t-shirt, provide support or seeking more information about Bean Strong, they've established a Facebook page.