022818_hom_O'Brien Family

Paul and Sandra O’Brien received a $1,000 donation mid-court during the Tri-State Christian Athletic Conference Championship Tournament on Feb. 24.

Atlantic Christian School / submitted

EGG HARBOR TOWNSHIP — Gate fees and donations collected at the home basketball games of six southern New Jersey Christian schools in mid-February were recently donated to provide cancer care assistance to the O’Brien family of Marmora.

The gift, which totaled $1,042, was presented to Paul and Sandra O’Brien on Feb. 24 during the championship tournament of the Tri-State Christian Athletic Conference. The six TSCAC schools that participated were Atlantic Christian, Baptist Regional, Calvary Academy, Cumberland Christian, Gloucester County Christian and Pilgrim Academy.

Atlantic Christian Athletic Director Pam Hitchner presented the gift to the O’Briens on behalf of the conference. Hitchner said that since 2012, the conference schools and athletes have participated in special appeals to raise funds in February for the American Cancer Society to support cancer awareness and research. At basketball games last month, athletes and coaches wore black T-shirts with a message in pink that read "Shoot for a Cure: TSCAC Makes a Difference."

“This year, the athletic directors from the different Christian schools, after learning of the O’Brien family’s lengthy battle with cancer, decided to make a difference in their lives, and it has been such an encouragement to them,” Hitchner said.

Over the past two years, Paul O'Brien has undergone more than five surgeries, radiation and chemotherapy for treatment of an orbital squamous cell carcinoma in his right eye, a cancerous tumor that is now considered terminal. The O'Brien family includes an 8-year-old son, David, and Jacob, a junior at Atlantic Christian and a member of the 2018 championship ACS varsity boys’ basketball team. Mr. O’Brien’s wife, Sandra, is an elementary aide at Atlantic Christian, and Sandra’s daughter, Gail Alford, is the early education and elementary director.

Anyone wishing to assist the O'Brien family can make a donation through GoFundMe.

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