More than half a million United States citizens are expected to die of cancer within the next year. Ranked as the second leading cause of death in the United States, the dynamic aspects of the disease make it extremely difficult to identify one overarching cure.
In attempt to get one step closer to finding a solution, the Valparaiso High School Girls Basketball team held its Coaches vs. Cancer game against Hobart on the evening of Tuesday, February 3. Not only did the tribute to universal struggle unite those who have faced its consequences, but it also served as a time to raise money and awareness about the disease.
The game provided spectators with more than just a game. Plenty of activities consumed the evening. In between the JV and Varsity games, the VHS Varsity players introduced a presentation that honored victims of the disease. During this presentation, people in the audience held up different colored glow sticks in honor of their loved ones. Each color represented a different type of cancer.
Wendy Gates, mother of VHS Varsity Basketball player Kayla Gates, coordinated the presentation and evening. Gates said, “The presentation was something my older daughter Alyssa helped put together. Anyone who wanted to memorialize someone who has passed away or survived cancer could feature him or her in the video for a $5 donation fee. A lot of people gave even more, which show truly shows the commitment citizens have to raise money.”
Additionally, cancer survivors were given free T-shirts, while Relay for Life T-shirts were available for purchase. A pie-throwing contest offered students the opportunity to “pie” their favorite teacher $1. Several teachers volunteered as tribute, illustrating the true spirit of the event.
Steve Davis, science teacher at VHS, said, “This fundraiser on behalf of the basketball team is well-organized and fun. Of course I’d volunteer to join the effort!”
Gates continued, “The Pie Throwing Contest was actually a recommendation from the ACS. Not only is it fun and a money maker, but it goes to an important cause.”
Attendees of the event were able to bid on gift baskets during a Silent Auction. The sale of wristbands, buttons, and baked goods were also on sale to support the cause. 100% of the proceeds from the game went towards the American Cancer Society, or ACS.
It is evident that the efforts on behalf of the VHS Girls Basketball team paid off. It is extremely uplifting to see the youth in our community strive to solve a universal issue.