Newswise — The “Lobos” and the “Aggies” are New Mexico’s college teams, but on February 7, 2014, the state’s Senators and Representatives will assume those names. New Mexico legislators will play in the annual “Hoops 4 Hope” basketball game to raise awareness and money for cancer treatment and research. The proceeds will benefit the University of New Mexico Cancer Center.

The UNM Cancer Center is the official cancer center of New Mexico. The only National Cancer Institute designated center in the state, it is tasked with ensuring that all New Mexicans have access to world-class cancer care and benefit from advances in cancer research. The UNM Cancer Center raises money for research and treatment from national and state grant programs and from private donations. The “Hoops for Hope” basketball game has been an important source of private donations for over 15 years. Last year’s game raised over $26,000, bringing the total amount the game has raised since 2007 to over $100,000.

“The ‘Hoops 4 Hope’ event is fun for everyone involved, but it is also an important source of support for the UNM Cancer Center,” says Cheryl Willman, MD, UNM Cancer Center Director & CEO. Dr. Willman adds, “The proceeds help us to deliver the cutting-edge, compassionate care that all New Mexicans deserve.” Over 10,000 New Mexicans were diagnosed with cancer in 2013, according to American Cancer Society estimates. It is a devastating number that highlights the importance of this event.

This year’s fundraiser will feature Doug Martin, New Mexico State University Head Football Coach, as the House Aggies coach. But in a break with tradition, UNM Head Baseball Coach Ray Birmingham will coach the Senate Lobos. “We are deeply grateful to New Mexico’s legislators for their unwavering commitment to fighting cancer in our state,” says Dr. Willman. “‘Hoops 4 Hope’ is just one facet of that commitment.”

About the Game The “Hoops 4 Hope” legislative basketball game will be held in the Capitol High School Gymnasium, 4851 Paseo del Sol, Santa Fe, NM 87507. Tip-off is at 7:00 P.M. Tickets are $5 at the door or in advance in Room 125 of the Capitol. For questions, contact Billy Gupton at 505-480-9316. All proceeds benefit the UNM Cancer Center.

About the UNM Cancer Center The UNM Cancer Center is the Official Cancer Center of New Mexico and the only National Cancer Institute-designated Cancer Center in the state. One of just 68 premier NCI-Designated Cancer Centers nationwide, the UNM Cancer Center is recognized for its scientific excellence, contributions to cancer research, the delivery of high quality, state of the art cancer diagnosis and treatment to all New Mexicans, and its community outreach programs statewide. Annual federal and private funding of over $71 million supports the UNM Cancer Center’s research programs. The UNM Cancer Center treats more than 60 percent of the adults and virtually all of the children in New Mexico affected by cancer, from every county in the state. It is home to New Mexico’s largest team of board-certified oncology physicians and research scientists, representing every cancer specialty and hailing from prestigious institutions such as M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, Johns Hopkins University, and the Mayo Clinic. Through its partnership with Memorial Medical Center in Las Cruces, the UNM Cancer Center brings world-class cancer care to the southern part of the state; its collaborative clinical programs in Santa Fe and Farmington serve northern New Mexico and it is developing new collaborative programs in Alamogordo and in Roswell/Carlsbad. The UNM Cancer Center also supports several community outreach programs to make cancer screening, diagnosis and treatment available to every New Mexican. Learn more at