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Pennsbury grad Joey Monaghan gets support from basketball community as he battles cancer

08/14/2022, 7:45pm EDT
By Owen McCue

Owen McCue (@Owen_McCue)

Joey Monaghan has dedicated most of his life to basketball.

First a standout at Pennsbury High School (2013-2017), then continuing his basketball career at Marywood University (2017-2021) hoops has been a mainstay in his life for a long time.

Even after his playing career ended, he started working as an account executive for the Sixers and Blue Coats and coaching with the North 

Former Pennsbury captain Joey Monaghan is battling a rare form of cancer. (Photo: Courtesy Marywood Athletics)

Now, the game he’s given so much too and those who he’s crossed paths through it are trying to give back to Monaghan.

Monaghan was diagnosed with cancer, stage 4 metastatic sarcoma on his left side abdomen to his back, earlier this summer. The basketball community quickly reacted to try and help ease the burden of his medical costs along with showing him support in what he’s described as ‘the worst month of my life’.

“I’m so blessed to have that community in my background and also in my corner,” Monaghan said. “I played for Pennsbury basketball for four years, and it’s great to see they still support me and still love me. … And also my Marywood basketball team. They’re awesome as well. They’re so far away but they still drive down and come to the hospital and support me and they call me everyday.

“It’s great to see I have all this basketball support. My whole entire life, I’ve been surrounded by basketball, but it’s great to see it’s showing some love back to me with the people I’ve made connections with.”

Monaghan was on two state playoff teams during his time and Pennsbury and a team captain during his junior and senior seasons.

Former Falcons girls standout Ava Sciolla, the 2021-22 PIAA Class 6A Player of the Year, had Monaghan as a counselor at Pennsbury basketball clinics and said she has known him casually for years while watching his career.

Now on the University of Maryland’s women’s basketball team, Sciolla decided to put together a ‘Playing for Joey’ basketball clinic for Monaghan, which will take place free of charge on Tuesday at the Pennsbury Racquetball Club. (For more information click here)

They are accepting donations with all proceeds going to Monaghan and his family to help defray the cost of his treatment.

“Once I heard about Joey, my dad and I started talking about some things that we could do and the times worked about perfectly,” Sciolla said. 

“The second that I learned that Joey was diagnosed, it kind of clicked in my head and my dad had the same realization and we figured that this is something that would really help him and his family.”

The time and effort did not go unnoticed by Monaghan.

“For her to do this for me in her short time back means a lot for me,” Monaghan said.

Sciolla announced the Sixers will provide uniforms for all those attending the clinic and t-shirts for the adults. The Sixers entertainment team, including mascot Franklin, will also make an appearance.

The first session from 9 a.m.-10:30 a.m. will consist of players in grades first through fifth. The second session from 10:30 p.m.-noon will consist of players in grades sixth through ninth. More than 100 people signed up before the end of last week and people can continue to sign up and/or donate through Tuesday.

“I’ve gotten so many emails from various local organizations and people who either know Joey, saw Joey one time or saw Joey one time who are donating their time, money and resources to help us put on this event and to help Joey,” Sciolla said. “It’s been really heartwarming and emotional for me to see the way our community has come together so quickly to help him out.”

Monaghan played in 75 games at Marywood. His senior season in 2020-21 was unfortunately limited to one Senior Day win due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Senior year was taken away from me, which was tough,” Monaghan said. “We only played one game, but we won the game, so we were 1-0. Can’t complain there, undefeated.”

Marywood also jumped in to help Monaghan by selling ‘Your Fight is Our Fight’ t-shirts through Aug. 21 as part of a fundraising effort. (The link can be found here).

Along with working for the Sixers, Monaghan was an assistant coach for the Philly Heat North girls basketball’s 2024 team this offseason, where he found another way to appreciate the sport. 

“It was awesome because it was great coaching, finally being on the sidelines, telling girls what to do, putting them in the best position to be successful,” Monaghan said. “It was great too because girls listen to what you say. It was really fun watching them because you say one thing, and they’ll do it as hard as they can.”

“I’m doing it again next year when I get up on my feet and beat this.”

Monaghan’s next round of chemo is Tuesday. He said the support from all kinds of people has been a source of strength, mentioning younger players reaching out who have told him about looking up to him during their basketball careers.

“It’s probably the worst month of my life. I was trapped in the hospital for 17 days straight and ER room three days in a row, goin back and forth with surgeries, back and forth with tests,” Monaghan said. “Hearing the news that you have cancer at the age of 23 is very tough. 

“I try to stay strong, stay positive, stay motivated. I’ve been seeing this as a lesson from God saying that I’m going to get through this, learn from this, staying strong everyday, stay positive and help others and being that role model for other people as well.”


'Playing for Joey' clinic link:

Joey Monaghan t-shirt fundraiser link:

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