The heartening scene that would eventually transpire in the Millennium High School gymnasium on August 24, which saw coaches, players and parents alike sporting “Luvy Strong” T-shirts, started with an unforeseen Twitter message from an unlikely source.
Michael Dominguez, founder of Dominguez Performance Group and well-connected in Arizona’s high school basketball scene, learned of LaVette Singleton, the mother of Millennium senior basketball player Jasmine Singleton who is battling Stage 3 Rectal Cancer, through Twitter.
And he wanted to help.
The plan he had conjured up was a perfect blend of both his and LaVette’s worlds: The Dominguez Performance Group, a company specializing in high school development and recruitment, would host a basketball camp at Millennium — the very school at which LaVette’s oldest daughter, Tyonna, played and also the one Jasmine helped lead to a state title last winter.
It was open to any player interested, of all ages, for a $20 entrance fee.
In return, the Singleton family would net all proceeds from the camp.
“I actually don’t know the family very well,” Dominguez said. “I saw someone in need of assistance and stepped in. Our community is very special and has the ability to impact peoples’ lives in great ways. I knew that we could really help their family with a camp, so I contacted LaVette and she was more than thankful for our help.”
LaVette being “more than thankful” may have slightly underestimated just how appreciative she really was. Frankly, she was floored. A stranger, one who she had vaguely known through her involvement in the high school hoops community, was offering significant help toward tackling her growing list of medical expenses.
The day after the fundraiser, the Dominguez Performance Group tweeted that it had raised more than $2,500.
“I was overwhelmed,” LaVette said on August 24, parked on the sidelines inside the Millennium gym. “For someone to reach out to you like that and offer their services, it’s really a wonderful feeling.”
Though Dominguez was unable to attend, his plan masterfully came to fruition. Roughly 60 players filled the Millennium gym, all donating to LaVette while also competing in drills and three-on-three games.
Many of the campers were current or former Millennium boys’ and girls’ basketball players, but a good chunk hailed from other schools spanning the Valley.
Jasmine knew Dominguez had planned for this since July, when her mother was diagnosed. When it was officially announced that the fundraiser was a go, Jasmine took to Twitter in an effort to recruit players and friends to join her.
“I play club as well, so my club teammates are here, and my stepbrother brought some of his friends,” she said.
And through an infectious smile, she said, “I’m really thankful for this. It’s so thoughtful.”
On display throughout the gym were T-shirts with “Luvy Strong” scripted in blue lettering on the back. There were other accessories and goodies for sale, from necklaces and stickers to miniature footballs and snacks.
LaVette sat in the Millennium bleachers, watching her daughters and their teammates flood the gym in her honor, feeling so moved, even speechless at times. But the love she received prompted her to offer these words to everyone who attended the camp, and those who remain side by side with her as she continues her fight.
“Just never give up on your dreams. Always, always pay attention to your body. Any illness will give you signs. Pay attention to your body and always follow your dreams.”
Those interested in helping out LaVette and the Singleton family can do so via GoFundMe: gofundme.com/f/la-vette039s-fight-against-rectal-cancer.