Photo: David McGregor . The WNBA's Atlanta Dream run wind sprints during the teams open practice at Brookwood High School on Monday evening in Snellville.
SNELLVILLE — The Atlanta Dream have never been hesitant to “Take the Show on the Road” to Brookwood High School.
And the WNBA franchise has never hesitated to honor Amanda Riley, the former Brookwood athlete who lost her battle of cancer a little more than a year ago.
For the second time in less than a year, the Dream were back at Brookwood’s Maroon Gymnasium for one of the six “Take the Show on the Road” promotions they do throughout Georgia during the season.
The proceeds for the Dream’s program — which included a team practice and autograph session with the players — went to the foundation created in Riley’s name to help other children who are battling cancer like she did before it took her life on April 9, 2010.
“When Amanda was sick in February or March, (the Dream) had offered to redecorate her bedroom,” said Riley’s mother Barbara, who helped create the foundation with her husband Steve. “Once we knew she wasn’t going to make it, we asked if they’d redecorate the locker room in her memory. ... And we’ve kept the relationship going.
“(Amanda) definitely did touch a lot of lives.”
Indeed, Riley’s brave fight has inspired several Dream players who relish being able to help an organization like the Amanda Riley Foundation with events like Monday’s practice.
“It’s extremely inspiring to know she fought so hard and so long,” said Dream guard and former Georgia Bulldog Coco Miller. “She was a such a wonderful young lady. You can tell that by her family and friends. I think it’s great the Amanda Riley Foundation — what it does. What it’s set up to do.
“And it’s great to reach out to (fans in) different parts of Georgia and Atlanta. Hopefully, we can reach out to young girls who maybe aren’t able to come to the games. Hopefully can entice them to come. And hopefully we can inspire them in some way to do what we do.”
Part of the goal for Monday’s event was to impress upon others the way Amanda Riley was inspired by basketball and how she inspired others with her battle.
Barbara Riley notes that The Amanda Riley Foundation was set up not to raise funds for cancer research, but to help make the lives of children battling cancer and their families better, even if for a few moments.
The foundation has raised somewhere between $45,000 and $50,000 to date, which has gone to purchase items like televisions, iPods, wigs, computers and other items for cancer patients, as well as cover costs of meals and gas during frequent trips to hospitals and clinics for treatment.
And Barbara Riley is pleased with how well events like Monday’s have been able to both honor her daughter and aid the foundation that bears her name.
“Ever since Amanda was about 7 or 8 years old, she played basketball,” Barbara Riley said. “It’s always been a huge part of our lives. It’s really awesome to get to know the Dream and have a relationship with the members of the team and work together.
“We walked through the same journey that (families) who are currently battling cancer are going through. We know what they need — the children and the families of the children. We saw a lot of kids who did not have the advantages Amanda had. ... So, our foundation is to provide for children while they’re in the midst of their battle during the hardest time.”