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Shooting for a Cure

January 14, 2019 - 12:03pm


The Pembroke Girls' Basketball Team presented a check for $30,020.19 to Dr. Candace Johnson at Rosewell Park on Friday, proceeds from the "Shooting for A Cure" game the night before. The event Thursday brought the total raised over eight years from "Shooting for A Cure" to more than $119,000.

January 11, 2019 - 11:31am
posted by Howard B. Owens in Shooting for a Cure, basketball, news, notify, pembroke.

UPDATE 1:13 p.m.: Last night was another new record for 'Shooting for a Cure." The event raised $30,000.

In its eighth year, Pembroke's "Shooting for a Cure" girls basketball reached a significant milestone Thursday night, topping $100,000 raised for cancer research.

The total amount raised this year hasn't been released yet but Mike Wilson said last night that organizers knew more than $19,000 had raised, putting the cumulative total over that $100K mark.

"These girls this year, they attacked it. I can’t say enough about this team," said Wilson, who was head coach the first year of the fundraiser in 2011. "They lead the charge. They really do. They’re the ones out pounding the pavement. They’re the ones out in Batavia, and on Transit Road, and Rochester, and Buffalo, and they’re on social media using it the right way for all those good things.

"They have really spread our mission. I’m so proud of this group. They’re a young group but they’re so mature in the compassion and love they have for the people in our community. It’s awesome."

Thursday night was also the night the community could celebrate a new job for Brianna Johnson.

It was Johnson who, in 2011, while on a team bus returning from a softball game, said the school should do something to support Coach Ron Funke's wife, Toni Funke. She and teammates talked with Wilson and the idea for Shooting for a Cure was born.

Today, Johnson starts a new job on the cancer research team at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in Buffalo.

"For Brianna to have that idea and then to move on to something in the medical field, doing cancer research, it’s come full circle," Wilson said. "They just hired her. Her intake meeting is tomorrow, so when we’re down presenting our check to Candace Johnson and the Roswell staff, Brianna is going to be there signing up to become a member of that team.

"They’re going to find a cure for cancer with Brianna on that team. She’s so passionate about this. I’m very proud of her."

As for the game, Notre Dame beat Pembroke 50-31.











January 2, 2019 - 12:50pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, Shooting for a Cure, basketball, news.


Press release:

In 2011 the Pembroke High School Girls’ Basketball Team approached then Head Coach Mike Wilson with an idea; they wanted to show their support for Toni Funke in her battle against breast cancer by hosting a game in her honor, which would bring the community together to raise funds and awareness for cancer research at Roswell Park.

This simple act of love eight seasons ago has now grown into one of Roswell Park’s largest community‑based fundraising events. To date, Shooting For A Cure! has raised more than $88,000 for cancer research, and this season, the team hopes to eclipse the $100,000 mark in total funds raised.

This year’s fundraiser (7 p.m., Thursday, Jan. 10th vs. Notre Dame) will mark the eighth consecutive season the Pembroke team will be focused on winning—not just league games, but the battle against cancer. It’s a cause that remains personal to the team and their school district because of the number of students, faculty, staff and community members who have been affected by cancer.

“The Shooting For A Cure! game isn’t just a basketball game, it’s about trying to change peoples’ lives for the better. It’s about making a positive change in our community and using our platform as players to try and make a difference,” said senior Unique Bryant.

Since the inaugural game, each team—including all of the new members—looks for ways to widen the impact of the game.

“Our team has been looking forward to the Shooting For A Cure! game since last season; it’s our favorite game of the year. We rally together with the community and use this game as a means to fight alongside those currently battling cancer,” Unique said. “On a personal level, this game is extremely special to me, as my mother is a cancer survivor. When I was about 5-years-old, she was diagnosed and battled like a warrior. I have so much love and respect for her. She’s my hero."

Junior Casey Wurtz will be playing in her third Shooting For A Cure! game this year at the varsity level.

“Each game becomes more meaningful to me," Casey said. "Three of my aunts have battled cancer. Two of them are survivors, but sadly, one of them lost her battle. This disease has been tough on my family to say the least. My grandmother was just recently diagnosed as well, and I want to do all I can to support her. This game gives my teammates and me the opportunity to come together for a cause much bigger than us.

"This game brings us all together one night a year as a Pembroke community, united, in the fight against this disease. It’s overwhelming, in the best way, to share in such a night. When I look back on my years in high school, I will always remember playing in the Shooting For A Cure! games with my team and doing our best to support those in need while trying to find a cure for this awful disease."

The 2018-2019 Shooting For A Cure! donors list has grown to more than 100 merchants and individuals including: 26Shirts, ADPRO Sports, Batavia’s Original Pizzeria, Clarence Deli, Coca-Cola of Rochester, Courage of Carly Foundation, Crickler Vending, Dave & Adam’s Card World, Dixon Ticonderoga, Eli Fish, Fava Brothers Lawn Care, Fenton’s Produce, Five Guys, Haun Welding, Hershey’s Ice Cream, Insty-Prints, Kohorst Trucking, Linda’s Family Diner, moondanceCat, Northtown Automotive, Original Pizza Logs, Pillar Real Estate Investors, Silver Lake Country Club, Southwest Airlines, Tim Hortons, Yancey’s Fancy and the YMCA.

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 companies.

“This year we will have some one-of-a-kind donation items on hand for our supporters to win," said event coordinator Mike Wilson. "A Corfu resident spent countless hours building a beautiful, rustic-style kitchen table with a matching bench and two chairs. Currently, two of our students are creating custom Adirondack chairs with a matching table in support of our mission.

"We were just recently donated four tickets to sit behind the Syracuse bench at an upcoming basketball game in March as well as four suite level tickets for a Sabres game in February. Dry Creek Group has again donated a fully catered dinner party for eight guests out in Hamburg and Fenton’s Produce just donated a helicopter ride for two over Niagara Falls.

"Southwest Airlines even donated a pair of roundtrip flights anywhere they fly in the U.S. in support of our Shooting For A Cure! mission. The generosity shown throughout our community, at every level, is overwhelming, to say the least. Our Pembroke community is unlike any other.

"It is remarkable how many people come out to support the team’s mission each season. What started off as a small act of love, in support of Toni Funke eight years ago, has now become a community-wide movement that we strongly believe in. We’ll continue Shooting For A Cure! at Pembroke until a cure is found."

In addition to these generous donations, the New York State Correctional Officers & Police Benevolent Association (NYSCOPBA) will again be donating an astounding $2,500 to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center in support of Shooting For A Cure! this season.

“Roswell Park has done incredible things for our membership. It has helped so many of our members and their families battling cancer. We wanted to give back to Roswell as well as support the incredible efforts of the Pembroke Girls Basketball team,” said Western Region NYSCOPBA Vice President Joe Miano.

As a former Pembroke graduate and current resident, Miano is a firm believer in this cause.

“This group of young women, with the support of the Pembroke School District, continues to do great things for the community beyond the basketball court," Miano said. "It’s truly inspiring and we wanted to take this opportunity to reinforce their efforts.”

Miano, accompanied by a few additional members, will take part in a check presentation with the team to be held prior to the varsity game.

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/ShootingForACure

The team hopes Shooting For A Cure! will continue its tradition of topping the previous year’s fundraising total.

“Last year we were able to raise over $27,000 as a community for cancer research, which is just overwhelming when you think about it! We live in such a great community with caring people who really want to help in any way they can,” sophomore Emily Peters said.

“Playing basketball at Pembroke isn’t just about scoring points and winning games; it’s about doing what we can to pay it forward. It’s about coming together as a team, as a community, to support those fighting cancer and to try and do our part to help find a cure. This game brings our team together and it gives us a much greater purpose when we step on the court."

Roswell Park has officially sanctioned Shooting For A Cure! as a Team Cure, community events 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," said Alex Hoaglund, Team Roswell Special Events coordinator. "What an incredible legacy that 2011 team left, built on compassion and altruism. What each team has been able to accomplish since the first game is truly inspirational. Shooting For A Cure! is one of the top, if not the top, ongoing high school community events fundraisers for Roswell Park.

“This small community continues to do big things. At this moment Shooting For A Cure! has raised over $88,000 for cancer research at Roswell Park. I have a feeling this season they’ll eclipse the $100,000 mark in total funds raised earning them a ‘Leadership Circle’ distinction on our donor wall in the hospital lobby.

"Pembroke’s Shooting For A Cure! game is making a difference in the fight against cancer. The money they’re raising each season is funding cutting-edge research and saving lives. Team Roswell is so thankful to partner with this team and their community every year.”

January 26, 2018 - 4:55pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Shooting for a Cure, pembroke, news.


When Toni Funke was diagnosed with cancer in 2012, the Pembroke High School girls basketball team, coached by her husband Ron Funke, was inspired to try and raise money to help fight cancer.

Shooting for a Cure! has been an annual event since and each year it gets bigger and bigger.

This year was no exception with the event raising a record $26,000, bringing the total raised since over the past six years to $87,000.

The team traveled to Roswell Cancer Institute in Buffalo today to deliver the donations.

In the game, Oakfield-Alabama beat Pembroke 51-31.

Top photo: Serene Calderon presents Toni Funke with a rose, a halftime ceremony held each year where team members present flowers to community members who have battled cancer or are currently in treatment.







January 13, 2017 - 7:46pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, Shooting for a Cure, basketball, sports.


Members of the Pembroke Lady Dragons presented a check today for $19,085.12 to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. The funds were proceeds from their annual fundraiser held last night at the school.

UPDATE: Tonight the team received an anonymous $685.05 donation, making the total raised this year $20,020.17.

Previously: Shooting for a Cure aims high and hits new record in fundraising for cancer research

December 12, 2016 - 3:32pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in Shooting for a Cure, pembroke, basketball, sports.


Press release:

During the last five 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 family members who have been affected by the disease.  Yet according to Senior Captain, Shelby Turner, this year’s fundraiser (7pm, Thursday, January 12th vs. Notre Dame) is particularly important as it marks the final season this group of four seniors will be able to play in the event.

“I was only in 7th 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,” Turner 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.  “Although I was a young player on the modified team it was amazing to see our community come together the way they did in support of her,” Turner stated. “This fundraiser means so much to our team because it gives us an opportunity to give back to the community, especially those battling cancer. This game is our identity and we take tremendous pride in that,” Turner said.

The 2017 Shooting For A Cure! donors list numbers more than 65 merchants and individuals such as ADPRO Sports, AdWorks, the Buffalo Bills, Buffalo Sabres, Buffalo Bandits, Buffalo Bisons, Carly’s Club, Chef’s, Chestnut Hill Country Club, Darien Lake, Fava Brothers Lawn Care, Insty-Prints, Maple Ridge Landscaping, M&T Bank, NFL Films, Original Pizza Logs, Party City, Perry’s Ice Cream, Target, Tops, Save-A-Lot 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, online donations are being accepted at the team’s online fundraising site: (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 team member Sammi Tatarski, the event succeeds because of the format. “All of the money raised that evening goes directly to support cancer research at Roswell Park,” Tatarski said. “Playing for this team is not just about basketball, it’s about giving back to the community and showing our support for those in need any way we can.”  Tatarski added, “This game is personal to me because in 2013 my mother was diagnosed with breast cancer. Seeing what she went through was difficult and no one wants to see a family member go through that. It inspired me to want to do whatever I could to help find a cure for this disease.  That 2013 season I was just a young kid on the JV team.  This game has had a special meaning to me ever since that day and I truly believe in what it stands for.”

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 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 Julia Harvey, Team Cure coordinator.  “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,” Harvey added.  “To think that they’ve has raised over $40,000 in five seasons with this game is a testament to benevolence of these girls and the entire Pembroke community.” 

February 9, 2015 - 6:44pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, Shooting for a Cure.

After a successful "Shooting for a Cure" fundraiser at Pembroke High School on Thursday, members of the Lady Dragons presented a $9,019 check to the Roswell Park Cancer Institute on Friday.

Photo submitted by Christina Abt.

February 6, 2015 - 9:10am
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, Roswell Cancer Institute, Shooting for a Cure.

Sean Burton, Dave Porter and Aaron Burch congratulate each other after getting their heads shaved before the Pembroke girls basketball game Thursday night, part of the school's annual "Shooting for a Cure" fundraiser.

The fourth annual event has become one of the largest annual fundraisers for Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Last night, the school raised $8.729.32, making the four-year total more than $30,000.

When the recording of the National Anthem didn't work, Makenzie Ferranti and Samantha Quaranto step forward and sang the Star Spangled Banner as a duet, giving a stellar performance that was completely unplanned.

The Pembroke girls were dressed in their pink Shooting for a Cure uniforms.

The Lady Dragons played their brand of aggressive basketball and swamped Holley, 50-6.

At half-time, local cancer survivors were honored with flowers from players, including Sue Underwood. Presenting the flower is Olivia Kohorst.

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