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First-grade cancer survivor receives custom basketball hoop
Featherbone, Academy Sports partner to help Lakeview Academy student
Andrew Bales, 11, pushes his sister Addi Friday afternoon followed by family, friends and Lakeview Academy classmates where she receives a custom made basketball goal.

Lining it up from her wheelchair, Addi Bales tosses up a shot in the lobby of the Gainesville Academy Sports + Outdoors.

“Think fast,” the Lakeview Academy first-grader and cancer survivor said before passing the pink-and-white basketball to her mother Holly Bales.

Addi, who was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2014, was given a customized basketball goal after the collaboration between the school’s Featherbone Communiversity students, the athletics store and Kona Ice of Greater Gainesville.

“You see the goodness of people come out when something like this happens,” Holly Bales said.

Addi underwent multiple surgeries, including one operation that removed a large portion of her femur.

The goal will be placed out on the playground at the school.

Students in the Featherbone Communiversity were each given $5 and told to turn it into something, Oliver Whitehead said.

“This year, we have this little girl who’s special to us, so we decided we’d do something for her,” the Lakeview Academy junior said.

The students pooled the money for Kona Ice to come to a Lakeview event, and the business in turn donated the proceeds for the basketball goal and post, Lakeview Academy communications director Sondra Berry wrote in an email.

“What really keeps us going is helping little boys and girls like Addi,” said Paul Kleiber of Kona Ice of Greater Gainesville.

Russ Hilsher, the Academy Sports + Outdoors’ store director, said the store customized the goal so that Addi can shoot at it while in her wheelchair.

Lakeview Academy Head of School John Kennedy praised the students for the idea and initiative.

“Moments like this stay here forever,” he said.

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