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Alysha Clark
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Seattle Storm’s Alysha Clark has a mission off the court

Alysha Clark plays forward with the Seattle Storm. She’s a force to be reckoned with on, and off the court.

It’s something that became apparent when she was awarded the July WNBA Cares Community Assist Award for her work with kids at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

“About four years ago now, one of our season ticket holders was a nurse there … she was like ‘Why don’t you come visit the hospital,'” Clark said.

She took the nurse up on the offer. The first visit was difficult, as Clark met children battling cancer.

“It was emotional at first,” Clark said. “You see these children who are so young, dealing with these life issues that are unimaginable. You never want anyone to go through this, let alone a child. But their strength and their positivity they give every day despite their circumstances was so inspiring. From that point forward, I continued to go every week.”

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From that point on, Clark’s focus during her visits has been on the kids and their parents, aiming to take their mind off being in a hospital.

“Whether it’s playing video games with them, playing a card game, doing an arts and crafts project,” Clark said. “Whatever it is, just talking to them about stuff outside what they are dealing with. I talk with their parents, as well. I ask them about how long they’ve been there and how they are coping with it, what kind of things they need … you remember that they are giving me just as much as much as I am giving them. We go through everyday life worrying about problems that are so minute on the scale of things they are dealing with. It puts things back in perspective for you.”

It’s a heavy emotional lift each week, but Clark wants to do more. There is a need for more toys in the hospital’s toy room. With the support of the Seattle Storm, Clark started a toy drive four years ago. In the beginning she hoped to collect a few toys. Storm fans, however, are incredibly loyal to their team and their causes.

“I was like ‘If I get one wagon full of toys for the toy room, that’s going to be great,'” Clark said. “We’ve had to take U-Haul trucks to the hospital to be able to unlaod everything these fans have brought. People from out of state send stuff to the hospital … it’s been amazing.”

Alysha Clark’s toy drive

Clark’s Toy Drive is still on and they’ll be accepting donations through Saturday, July 14 at the Seattle Storm game.

“The game is July 14 against Dallas,” Clark said. “In the concourse we have donation bins. Fans can bring their donations to the game, unopened, brand new toys. We round it up and take it to the hospital a few days later; to the toy room.”

If you can’t make it to the game, there are other ways to donate. Clark, for example, donates $25 to the group Strong Against Cancer for every three-point shot she makes.

“In the last couple of years, people have reached out to me saying ‘Hey, I want to match that donation,’ or some fans say ‘Hey, we’re going to pick these four games, and how many threes you make, we will donate $25 … it’s going above and beyond anything I could have ever expected.”

Clark made 24 three point shots in 2015. And she made 36 in 2016. So far in 2018, she is up to 27 three point shots, and still counting.

Fans can match her three-pointers at pledgeit.org. For more information and a toy wish list check Seattle Storm’s website.

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