UNIVERSITY PARK — Samantha Ream remembers the outpouring of support she and her husband, Brandon Ream, felt from the Penn State community during his two-year battle with cancer.
The Penn State men’s basketball team continued that support Sunday with Team Ream Day during the Nittany Lions’ game against Wisconsin. There were Team Ream T-shirts on every seat; a halftime presentation honoring Brandon, who died Nov. 25; and a postgame bike demo at the Bryce Jordan Center.
“I think our family walked in this morning and was like, ‘Wow,’ ” Samantha said. “The T-shirts, the tables, all the banners. We’re just very proud and excited to support Penn State and the basketball team. We’re so happy that all these people came out for us.”
Team Ream, a local organization founded in Brandon’s memory, aims to provide financial help to families in the State College area who have been affected by serious medical conditions.
Friends of the Ream family agreed to match all funds raised for the event up to $30,000. Samantha said before the game that the organization was “either right at $30,000 or right above $30,000, so that will be matched. So that will be $60,000, give or take.”
The team honored Brandon with a ceremony during halftime, featuring a video tribute and introducing his family to the Penn State crowd. Brandon was a former Nittany Lions football player and dedicated fan of the basketball program.
“The Ream family’s just incredible,” coach Patrick Chambers said after Penn State’s 71-66 loss. “Great to this university. Great to be a part of to honor a young man who’s 29, lost his life to cancer, I can’t even imagine. I can’t even imagine.
“That’s why we can’t take life for granted. So I’m gonna pick myself up and we’ll move on because of guys like Brandon Ream. But we also, for Brandon’s sake, we fought. We showed heart. We had courage. We did that and so did he.”
Samantha said she wanted to give back to the communities that helped her and Brandon during his fight.
And she’s hoping to see Team Ream continue to grow and make a difference in the future.
“It’s been kind of a crazy few weeks getting everything together,” Samantha said.
“And Penn State has really worked with us. The community has really worked with us getting the foundation off its feet, getting this event started, and we’re just really excited to, after this event, start planning future things to keep helping more people.”