Benny the Bull, Chicago Bulls’ mascot, surprised and brought cheer to about 50 youthful participants on the third and final day of this year’s Moses E. Cheeks Slam Dunk for Diabetes Basketball Camp at Franciscan Omni Health and Fitness – Schererville.
Here, he presents a poster of Bulls star Derrick Rose, among other gifts, to two boys who had birthdays that day.
Benny played games with the children, demonstrated his hoops skills by shooting backward half-court shots, and brought laughter to parents and others who watched.
The free program, in its second year at Omni, though it has been conducted in the Chicago area since 2005, is offered for diabetic children and young adults, aged 5 to 18. It teaches fundamentals of living with the disease and offers a place where participants can gain confidence in a structured and supportive atmosphere. The program also is designed to teach participants the relationship between food, exercise and insulin, as well as basketball skills. It also teaches them how sports, illnesses and stress affect blood sugar levels.
Diabetes educators from Franciscan Alliance Northern Indiana Region hospitals were among those on hand.
The late Cheeks, a basketball enthusiast who assisted in planning the camps, was the father of Maurice Cheeks, who was a National Basketball Association coach.