Beasley Visits With HopeKids During Special Night At Target Center


Alex Conover
Web Editorial Associate

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When it comes to the mission of HopeKids, Justin Banks' unusual Thursday served as a perfect example of what the organization does.

Only two days after receiving a lumbar puncture for leukemia treatment, the 13-year-old from Brainerd had to leave school early. The side effects from the treatment were simply too much. With HopeKids planning on taking Justin and his family to the Timberwolves game that night, Justin's dad Travis asked him if he felt well enough to go.

"Dad," Justin said, "I'm not missing it."

According to Josh Taylor, taking families' minds off of the stress of medical appointments and bills is their mission. Taylor founded the Minnesota chapter of HopeKids nearly six years ago, moving up from Phoenix to expand the group's outreach.

"HopeKids focuses on families that have a child with a life-threatening illness," Taylor said. "We serve close to 800 families, with about 50 percent of them suffering from cancer. The whole mission is to keep kids looking forward to the future rather than dwelling on what's happening now."

HopeKids takes its guests to more than just sports outings.

"We have a lot of events on the calendar," said Taylor. "Private movie screenings, the state fair, the zoo and sporting events. It's hard for the parents to afford anything, as many of them have to quit their jobs to care for the child."

Thursday night's event was a collaboration between HopeKids and Timberwolves forward Michael Beasley. Beasley hosted ten children and their families in a luxury suite for the game against the Clippers, and put some icing on the cake with a post-game visit.

"I just try to put a smile on their faces," said Beasley, who came into the suite and immediately started joking and chatting with the kids. "They're going through tough times. I would bet that they're stronger than me and some of the other guys that play in the NBA."

Taylor and HopeKids had some very positive things to say about their five-year relationship with the Timberwolves.

"Tonight is great," Taylor said, "and our relationship as a whole with the Wolves over the last five years has been amazing. The Community Relations department has been a great supporter of ours. It's been great to have the support of the Timberwolves and all of the other sports teams here in Minnesota — it's all for the kids."

After Beasley autographed items and took photos, some of the kids came away with a fun experience and a new favorite NBA player.

"He's really cool," said Banks, grinning and holding an autographed print. "I'm definitely going to put this on my wall."


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