Ebony Clements

Featuring Ebony Clements

by PAUL BROWN @pbsportswriter

EBONY CLEMENTS has seen cancer cause plenty of tears and heartache in her life. As a radiographer, she’s seen people break down in front of her at the realisation they don’t have long to live. But the 27-year-old has a chance to put smiles on a few people’s faces at the O2 Arena next month while still helping to battle the disease. Ebony ClementsA massive basketball fan and former player, she will be taking part in the celebrity Hoops Aid event which helps to raise awareness of cancer and raise funds for the Sports Traider charity. And she will be on the court with everyone from The Voice winner Jermain Jackman and Diversity’s Ike Ezekwugo to heavyweight boxer Dereck Chisora and her US rapper friend D-Jukes.

“I became involved in Hoops Aid because of D-Jukes. He is helping promote the event, we got talking about basketball and it went from there. “I started playing basketball in primary school at the age of about 9/10 and became quite good for my age as a result. I continued playing representatively until I was 19 when I injured my knee and required a knee reconstruction. I played for my local team in Australia where I grew up, for most of my basketball career, they were called the “Maitland Mustangs”. I also represented my state NSW in the combined catholic colleges team. We were always the underdogs, our fierce rivals were the “Broadmeadow Hunters” and we often came runners up in our competition but always gave the Hunters a good run for their money.

“Living in Australia and my parents not being able to afford Fox or pay-TV of any description growing up, following the NBA was a bit difficult. I was always very jealous of my team-mates who could keep up to date with the game. However I did take a liking to Scottie Pippen and the Bulls after buying my favourite pair of basketball shoes ever – “Nike Air Pippens”. Man could I win a jump ball in those! “I like that basketball is being used by the charity to bring people from all walks of life together to support such a great cause.

“I’ve worked with a lot of cancer patients. It can be a tough job emotionally, but mostly, we only spend small amounts of time with our patients with a brief snapshot of their usually extensive medical history. I have experienced patients breaking down whilst in my care at the realisation they were not going to live much longer. We see a lot of traumatic things in our work, but we are trained to switch off with heavy things like that, we couldn’t make it through the day if we let all those moments get to us. I’ve had various family members lose their battles with cancer too, and other friends and family have had scares and ongoing battles. It affects everyone.”

None more so than Sports Traider founder and 2010 BBC Sports Personality Unsung Hero Lance Haggith, who set up the charity to help raise awareness of cancer after his teenage son Ellis was diagnosed with leukaemia.The charity aims to break down barriers of ability, race or background and find affordable ways to get kids into sport.

Hoops Aid also features former Olympians John Regis, Jamie Baulch and Andy Turner, Paralympic champion Richard Whitehead MBE, James Bond and Arrow actor Colin Salmon, Flawless, reality TV stars Pascal Craymer and Abigail Clarke, and a wheelchair game between Help for Heroes soldiers and Paralympians. For more info on Hoops Aid 2015, follow @hoopsaid – visit www.sportstraider.org.uk  or visit http://bit.ly/1DOONDf to buy tickets.