Chandra Ring with her sister, Hannah Taylor. (contributed Chandra Ring)

Wilton resident Chandra Ring is a committed older sister, working hard to make sure that her younger sister Hannah’s legacy continues to make a difference 10 years after brain cancer took her from their family at age 32. Ring is hoping to inspire participation in a fundraiser called “Hoops for Hannah” created to support brain cancer research that honors Hannah and her love for March Madness.

The Hoops for Hannah website describes her as “a skilled potter, devoted family member, ice cream lover, UConn basketball fanatic and dog lover.” Ring says their family made a big deal around the annual college basketball tournament, filling out brackets and competing for family bragging rights.

“Hannah grew up in Litchfield County and watched UCONN basketball throughout her life. I cannot remember a year my family didn’t complete NCAA Basketball Tournament brackets, both for bragging rights and bookstore gift cards. This time of year brought our family together, when life slowed and we all watched tournament basketball,” Ring recalled.

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Back when things were more low-tech, the family would sometimes stack two televisions on top of one another in the family room to watch two tournament games at a time.

“She always loved UCONN and enjoyed watching their basketball games and even as our family came together during the end of her illness, basketball could often be found on the TV in her Winthrop, MA apartment,” Ring told GOOD Morning Wilton.

The fundraiser is a contest built around the NCAA “March Madness” basketball bracket. Participants enter by filling out an online bracket (password is sammyhusky). There is no entry fee, but donations of any amount are encouraged and gratefully accepted; 100% of all donations support brain tumor research through The Musella Foundation for Brain Tumor Research & Information.

Hannah’s family offers a $1,000 first prize.

Building a fundraiser around this tradition that Hannah loved so much is a fitting tribute and connection for her family to keep her spirit alive. Since the effort started, Hannah’s family has raised more than $35,000 for cancer charities.

It’s a tradition that Hannah’s friends and family take part in every year, but Ring is hoping to make a bigger impact by inviting her fellow Wilton residents to participate. She hopes the close deadline to fill out the bracket by Thursday, March 17 won’t deter people from playing along for the chance to win $1,000 and support the cause near to her heart.

(The deadline to enter bracket picks is Thursday, March 17 at noon; however the CBS website used for entries has historically gotten swamped or gone offline early; Ring says 11 a.m. is a much safer deadline to use.)

Donations supporting Hoops for Hanna can be made directly to The Musella Foundation, on PayPal (search hoopsforhannah@comcast.net) or by sending checks to:

Hoops For Hannah
PO Box 964
North Canaan, CT 06018

Musella Foundation
1100 Peninsula Blvd.
Hewlett, NY 11557