Submitted photo of Pembroke High School Girls Basketball Team.
During the last four seasons, the Pembroke High School Girls’ Basketball Team has focused on winning—not just league games, but the battle against breast cancer. They will host their fifth annual "Shooting For A Cure!" game at 7 p.m. on Jan. 5 in support of funding breast cancer research at Roswell Park.
To date, the Pembroke team has raised more than $30,000 for the cause and hopes to raise more than $10,000 in one night on Jan. 5.
It’s a cause that is personal to the team and their school district because of the number of faculty and family members who have been affected by the disease.
Yet according to senior captain Aralyse Johnson, this year’s fundraiseris particularly important, as it marks the final season this group of six seniors will be able to play in the event.
“I was only an eighth-grade when my older sister Breanna and her teammates came up with the idea to host the first 'Shooting For A Cure!' basketball game in support of Toni Funke’s battle with breast cancer,” Aralyse said.
The team spent that 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.
“Impressive Marks donated pink uniforms and Walt Disney World donated park passes," Johnson said. "The support was overwhelming. That original team laid the foundation to what has become an annual event that we look forward to before the season even starts.
"This fundraiser means so much to our team and our community; we are all dedicated to supporting those in our community battling cancer and using our event to help fund research. This game has become the identity of Pembroke Girls’ Basketball and we take great pride in that."
The 2016 "Shooting For A Cure!" donors list numbers more than 80 merchants and individuals such as the Buffalo Bisons, Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bandits, GLOW YMCA of Batavia, Carly’s Club, Chestnut Hill Country Club, Darien Lake, Dry Creek Group, Fava Brothers Lawn Care, Insty-Prints, Kendall's Impressive Marks, Meinke Agency, Party City, Target, and Save-A-Lot to name a few.
Many of the product donations will become game night auction baskets and raffle prizes. Monies will also be raised from food and ticket sales with the generous support of local pizzerias and vending companies. Additionally, online donations are being accepted at the team’s online fundraising page: (https://www.crowdrise.com/shooting4acure).
The team hopes "Shooting For A Cure!" will continue its tradition of topping the previous years’ fundraising total. According to senior team member Emma Patterson, the event succeeds because of the format.
“Every penny that we raise goes to Roswell Park Cancer Institute to help fund cancer research,” Emma said. “It’s truly about service over self. As athletes we always put our team first. This game has the same guiding principle on a much larger scale.
"To think that this will be our team’s fifth 'Shooting For A Cure!' game is unbelievable to me. I can remember every single game vividly since I was in eighth grade, and it’s an honor to be a part of it. Each year our small community comes together to support this event, and it becomes more meaningful each season.”
RPCI 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 as they push themselves, not only on the court, but off the court as well," said Julia Harvey, Team Cure coordinator. "It’s inspirational to have a group of teens who are so passionate about raising critically needed funds for cancer research at Roswell Park. These girls continue to demonstrate an incredible amount of compassion.
"This team is special and their community is amazing. Although the players may change each season, 'Shooting For A Cure!' has remained constant, with the girls leading the charge, for five consecutive seasons. To me, it’s just remarkable.”
For more information go to the Shooting or A Cure Web site, Twitter, Pinterest
ABOUT PEMBROKE HIGH SCHOOL GIRLS’ VARSITY BASKETBALL TEAM: The Pembroke High School Girls’ Varsity Basketball Team is comprised of 11 outstanding girls, ages 15 to 18. Their 2015-2016 captains are Aralyse Johnson and Mandy-Jean Skeet. They are coached by Ron Funke. Team colors are green and black and their nickname is The Dragons. The team’s motto is Family-Hustle-Winning. The team began "Shooting For A Cure!" as an annual event in 2012 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