Notre Dame Men's Basketball shop for Coaches vs Cancer

NOW: Notre Dame Men’s Basketball shop for Coaches vs Cancer

SOUTH BEND, Ind – Fighting Irish giving back to a community of children during the holiday season.

Before hitting the road for a few games, the Irish made an early morning stop at Meijer in Mishawaka.

“It was just great. Going around the store, like we bonded, we told jokes and stuff and then just to see them smiling and enjoying the toys that we got them is just great,” said Freshman guard JJ Starling.

Starling may have had a just as much fun shopping for the toys, as the kids who received them.

“I was just smiling from ear to ear through the mask. Seeing that they were using them and smiling and interacting with us, it was just a great feeling,” Starling added.

Thanks to their partnership with Meijer, the Irish bough over 100 toys.

Most of them picked from a list to match the what the children like.

“It’s really cool any time you can brighten a kid's day. Especially someone that’s going through a lot like they are,” said Senior guard Trey Wertz.

One gift in particular was and handpicked and given to a special patient, making it one of many memorable moments for the families.

“Knowing that small things like this, especially during the holidays, for the parents and the patients, really lift their spirits,” said Jessica McCrea of the American Cancer Society.

“We spend a lot of time in the hospital, so nice stuff like this is awesome,” said Neil and Kelsey Koontz.

Their son Riley, is two years old and was diagnosed with high-risk stage four neuroblastoma in august

The Koontz family is no stranger to the men’s basketball team and seeing them today showed them a different side of the players.

“We’re season ticket holders, so we’ve been to the game before, but we were very excited, and we thought that was a really cool thing for them to do for these kids. It’s definitely nice to see them down to earth and normal like this because you’re used to just seeing them crazy on the courts,” Neil and Kelsey added.

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