Submitted photo and press release:
During the last six seasons, the Pembroke High School Girls’ Basketball Team has focused on winning—not just league games, but the battle against breast cancer. It’s a cause that is personal to the team and their school district because of the number of faculty and community members who have been affected by the disease.
Yet according to Senior Captain, Olivia Kohorst, this year’s fundraiser -- 7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 25, Pembroke vs. Oakfield-Alabama (at Pembroke) -- is particularly important as it marks the final season she will be able to play in the event.
“I was only in sixth grade when the first varsity team came up with the idea to host the first Shooting For A Cure! game in support of Toni Funke’s battle with breast cancer,” said senior Olivia Kohorst.
The team spent that inaugural season seeking support from the community and local businesses in hopes of funding research efforts at Roswell Park Cancer Institute (RPCI) in honor of Mrs. Funke.
“I remember being on the PYA team at the time with my friends. A lot of us went to that first game and I remember wearing pink and that the gym was really crowded! As a young kid, to see our community come together the way they did in support of Mrs. Funke made a lasting impression on me. I knew then that I wanted to be a part of that, part of something bigger than just me playing basketball with my friends,” Kohorst said.
“This fundraiser means more to our team every season. It gives us an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of others and it gives us greater purpose not only as student-athletes but as people. Cancer affects us all, my family included, and to be a part of a team that supports those fighting means more to me than I can express in words..
"Being a part of Shooting For A Cure! has affected me in such a positive way. Playing in this game was the highlight of each season I played basketball at Pembroke and I look forward to still being involved after I graduate.”
The 2017-2018 Shooting For A Cure! donors list numbers more than 70 merchants and individuals including ADPRO Sports, AdWorks, Batavia Country Club, Batavia’s Original Pizzeria, the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bandits, Buffalo Bisons, Courage of Carly Foundation, Chef’s, Dave & Adam’s Card World, DuPont, Insty-Prints, M&T Bank, Original Pizza Logs, Pembroke Youth Association, Terry Hills, Yancey’s Fancy and the YMCA to name a few.
Many of the product donations will become game night auction baskets and raffle prizes. Monies will also be raised from apparel sales and food sales with the generous support of local pizzerias and vending companies. Additionally, the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation has revamped their online platform and developed a Team Roswell site.
Direct online donations are now being accepted in support of Shooting For A Cure! at: http://give.roswellpark.org/goto/ShootingForACurePGBB.
The team hopes Shooting For A Cure! will continue its tradition of topping the previous years’ fundraising total.
“All of the money raised that evening goes directly to support cancer research at Roswell Park,” sophomore Mackenna Johnson said. “Playing basketball for Pembroke is not just about trying to win games, it’s about giving back to the community and showing our support for those in need.
"My oldest sister Breanna and her teammates started Shooting For A Cure! back in 2011 in support of Mrs. Funke, and what they started has become one of the largest Team Roswell fundraising events. Last season, we raised over $20,000 in one night, it was amazing! Our community is so supportive and we truly can’t thank all of the volunteers and donors enough for all that they do to support this game."
Roswell Park has officially sanctioned Shooting For A Cure! as a Team Cure fundraiser and as a valuable example of the way that young people can make a difference. “We continue to be impressed by the Pembroke Girls’ Basketball Team each and every season. They push themselves, not only on the court, but off the court as well, going above and beyond for the benefit of others.
It’s inspirational to have a group of teens who are so passionate about raising funds for cancer research at Roswell Park.These girls continue to demonstrate an incredible amount of compassion,” said Alex Hoaglund, Team Roswell special events coordinator. “This team is special and their community is remarkable.
"Although the players may change each season, Shooting For A Cure! has remained constant, with the girls leading the charge for six consecutive seasons. To think that they’ve has raised over $60,000 in six seasons with this game is a testament to the benevolence of the entire Pembroke community as well as this special team.”
For more information go to: Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/PemGBBPinkGame/
Team Roswell, http://give.roswellpark.org/goto/ShootingForACurePGBB
ABOUT PEMBROKE HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS’ VARSITY BASKETBALL TEAM: The Pembroke High School Girls’ Varsity Basketball Team is comprised of nine outstanding girls, ages 14 to 17. Their 2017-2018 captains are Olivia Kohorst, Sam Ianni, Mackenna Johnson, Mackenzie Jurek and Casey Wurtz. They are coached by Ron Funke. Team colors are green and black and their nickname is Dragons. The team began Shooting For A Cure! as an annual event in 2011, and they are committed to the hard work and dedication it will take to win the battle against breast cancer.
ABOUT ROSWELL PARK CANCER INSTITUTE: RPCI is among the first and only upstate New York facility to hold the National Cancer Institute designation of "comprehensive cancer center" and to serve as a member of the prestigious National Comprehensive Cancer Network. Many RPCI faculty serve on the NCCN panels that create the Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology™ — the internationally recognized standards for clinical policy in oncology, and the most comprehensive, most frequently updated clinical practice guidelines available in any area of medicine.
The RCPI campus spans 25 acres in downtown Buffalo and consists of 15 buildings with about 1.6 million square feet of space. A new hospital building, completed in 1998, houses a comprehensive diagnostic and treatment center. In addition, the Institute built a new medical research complex and renovated existing education and research space to support its future growth and expansion. www.roswellpark.org.