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Shooting for a Cure

March 25, 2021 - 4:05pm
posted by Press Release in Shooting for a Cure, pembroke, pembroke hs, news.

Press release:

Hospitality icon Russell J. Salvatore made a SURPRISE donation to the Pembroke High School Dragons Varsity Girls Basketball team, their Coach Ronald Funke, and “Shoot For The Cure” event organizer and Special Education teacher Michael Wilson Thursday, March 25th at 11 a.m.

Salvatore presented a check for $6,000, bringing the “Shooting For A Cure!” to their 10-year goal of $200,000, supporting research at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The Pembroke Girls Basketball Team recently hosted their 10th Annual charity “Shooting For A Cure!” -- called the “Pink Game”-- on Friday, March 5th at Pembroke High School.

The game and fundraising efforts this year totaled more than $42,000, despite the coronavirus pandemic. Over the past 10 seasons, the games have raised over $194,000. Organizers however had hoped to eclipse the $200,000 mark by April 1st. Broadcast and social media have been supportive of the team, the cause, and the community.  

Event organizer Michael Wilson said, “This is just unbelievable! We are so thankful to Mr. Salvatore for stepping up in support of the team, and Roswell. These girls, and the players before them, play their hearts out. The 'Shooting For A Cure' has been bringing people together in our community for such a good cause."

Salvatore said, “To see the excitement on the faces of the team, and everyone involved in helping Roswell Park, is very special. I am so glad to be able to support these fine young people who have done so much for Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.”

The gift Salvatore was made at Russell's Steaks, Chops, and More & Salvatore's Grand Hotel and restaurant.

Others in attendance included: Pembroke School Superintendent, Matt Calderon; Athletic Director, Ryan Winchip; Basketball Coach, Ron Funke with his wife, Toni Funke (who was the inspiration for the “Pink Game"); teacher Aaron Brown; Mike Wilson's wife, Jennifer Wilson; Mike's mother, Kathy Wittman; with daughters, Cameron and Ava Wilson; Roswell Park fundraising manager, MacKenzie Giancarlo; Roswell Park fundraising coordinator Mary Russell; and the Pembroke High School Girls Basketball Team -- Emily Peters; Serene Calderón (who spoke to media); Nicole von Kramer; Allie Schwerthoffer ( who spoke at the podium); Sydney Johnson; Ally Dubois-Rider' Ariel Moss; Isabel Breeden; and Karli Houseknecht.

A child of immigrant parents, Salvatore started in the restaurant business at his father's East Delevan Avenue location in the 1930s. He served in the Army in the 1950s. In 1967, Salvatore sold his home and purchased a small pizza business that would later become Salvatore's Italian Gardens for just $40,000. After leaving that business at age 75, he decided he was not done and opened Russell's Steaks, Chops, and More and Salvatore's Grand Hotel in 2008. Russell's has been honored as the top Steakhouse in New York State.

Through the years, Russell has always given back to the community in so many ways. He has purchased tens of thousands of Buffalo Bills tickets so blacked-out games could air on television, and those less fortunate could attend. This list of hometown organizations Salvatore has touched is almost too many to count.

They include Trocaire College School of Hospitality; Erie County Medical Center “Free to Patient” flatscreen TVs, Orthopedic Rehabilitation Floor and Atrium Lobby, Roswell Park Cancer Institute, Oishei Children's Hospital, Sister's Hospital, and St. Joe's Hospital “Free to Patient” flatscreen TV's; Red Cross, new mobile Blood Drive Vans; Kevin Guest House; Russell J. Salvatore Hospitality House & Bone Marrow Rehabilitation Center; Buffalo State College, Russell J. Salvatore Demonstration Kitchen; 10 veterans transportation vans; Brothers of Mercy Rehabilitation Center, Shea's Center for the Performing Arts; Lancaster Year-Round Indoor Baseball Facility; Boys and Girls ClubsLancaster re-build after a fire; Buffalo Hearing and Speech Center; UB Medical New Student Center Downtown Campus; Gospa House Respite Home for unwed Mothers; Niagara University Russell J. Salvatore Student Commons construction; Mathewson McCarthy Baseball Field Batting House & Field Restoration; Miracle League of Grand Island Special Needs Baseball Diamond and Park; are just some of the organizations Salvatore has supported as a philanthropist.

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March 6, 2021 - 3:04pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in girls basketball, sports, pembroke, Shooting for a Cure, notify.

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In the midst of a pandemic, when attendance was limited, Pembroke's annual "Shooting For A Cure!" fundraiser has raised at least $39,200, said organizer Mike Wilson.

That amount breaks last year's record-breaking total of $33,000.

Donations are still trickling in and Wilson is hoping the event goes over $40,000 by Monday morning when he'll announce the final results.

The funds benefit cancer research at Roswell Cancer Institute.

The basketball game itself saw another record fall. Serene Calderón scored 16 points, giving her a career total of 822, a new school record.

For the Lady Hornets, Makena Reding scored 16 points and Josie Reding scored 10 points.

The final score was 49-43, Hornets.

To get an idea of how many people turn out for the event when there are no coronavirus pandemic restrictions, watch our video from a year ago.

Video Sponsor

Photos by Kristin Smith. For more photos click here.

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March 3, 2021 - 1:24pm

Submitted photo and press release:

The Pembroke Jr./Sr. High School Girls’ Basketball Team will host its 10th annual Shooting For A Cure! event versus Oakfield-Alabama this Friday, March 5, at 7:30 p.m. in the high school gym, located at the corner of routes 5 and 77 (8750 Alleghany Road) in Pembroke.

Because of the current statewide COVID-19 restrictions, admission to the game is by school-issued passes only, with two immediate family members per player in attendance.

To date, Shooting For A Cure! has raised more than $152,000 and has become one of Roswell Park’s largest community-based fundraising events.

This year, the team hopes to break the $200,000 mark in total funds raised since the event’s inception, setting their most ambitious goal to date.

Donate / Support / Bid 

There are several ways to support this year’s mission.

The team is currently accepting online donations in support of Shooting For A Cure! To make a donation, please click here.

Currently Bontrager Real Estate & Auction Service has listed 20 Park Hopper passes to Walt Disney World that are up for bid. This auction closes on Friday, March 5th at 9:30 p.m., with 100 percent of the proceeds raised to benefit cancer research at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Insty-Prints of Buffalo generously printed raffle tickets in support of this year’s event. Countless donors have provided jewelry, newly released Apple products, Amazon gift cards, autographed sports memorabilia, gift certificates to local restaurants, themed-baskets, family photo sessions, and various hand-crafted items as raffle prizes. The YMCA of Batavia donated multiple memberships and Pesci’s Pizza & Wings donated an "Office Pizza Party for 12."

A limited number of raffle tickets remain.

To bid, click here.

Mark Lewis, local State Farm Insurance agent, has pledged $10 per insurance quote to Shooting For A Cure! for every auto quote completed now through March 31. This offer is for new customers only, so if you are not already a State Farm customer, please call (585) 343-4959 to request your “Quotes for Good” auto quote today (limit one per household). Please be sure to say you're calling on behalf of Shooting For A Cure!

In addition to details about purchasing tickets, event-related information is available here.

If you’d like to donate to this year’s event please contact Mike Wilson by calling (716) 949-0523 or click here.

WBTA to Broadcast Live and Food Trucks Will Rally

WBTA has offered an AM/FM broadcast of the game. Pembroke will be setting up a live video feed of the game.

Snack Shack Coordinator and Pembroke teacher Arron Brown has coordinated with local food trucks to set up a "Food Truck Rally" in support of the event from 4 to 8 p.m. The food vendors will donate a percentage of proceeds to cancer research at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Reflections on the Pink Game

Senior Serene Calderón will be playing in her fourth and final Shooting For A Cure! game this year.

“When I reflect on the Pink Game, what comes to mind is community, love, and team work," Serene said. "This game brings our community together every season, and we grow closer and more supportive of each other. The night of the game, our school is surrounded by love.

"You can just feel it, especially during the halftime ceremony. Shooting For A Cure! brings our team together; it gives us a higher purpose as we try to help those in need. It’s not about basketball that night; it’s about showing love to those in our community and supporting a cause much bigger than ourselves.”

Senior Emily Peters said “The most important part, to me, about participating in this event the fact that our small community makes a big impact. Since the inaugural game, each team—including all of the new members— looks for ways to widen the impact of the game. It’s been challenging for us this year to try and reinvent the way we host this event.

"It being our 10th annual, we wanted to go big and get creative, but with all of the current COVID restrictions, we won’t be able to have a packed gym or crowded hallways full of prizes; however that won’t take away from what’s most important. It’s about supporting our community, and we’re finding new ways to do that.”

Although this year’s event won’t have the characteristic congested hallways, capacity crowd in the gymnasium, jam-packed cafeteria, or halftime ceremony we’ve all become accustomed to, the team continues to pursue creative alternatives to bring the game to the community.

“The first word that comes to mind when I think about Shooting For A Cure! is the simple, powerful, and profound word, love.” said Matthew Calderón, Pembroke superintendent. “There isn’t a better word that describes what’s going on here at Pembroke in the days, weeks, and months leading up to this event.

"You can feel it in the building, especially on the night of the game. This entire event is fueled by love. It’s about selflessly serving others and showing everyone in our community that we’ve got their back when adversity strikes. The most important aspect of this game has only been further strengthened and enhanced by the current restrictions we’re facing.

"These new challenges will not stop Pembroke from trying to make a difference. It provides us with the opportunity to do something we never would have had the chance to do. Our mission remains the same, we’re just finding new ways to go about it. We remain hopeful that taking a more virtual approach will allow us to engage more people in a broader way, reaching those we wouldn’t normally reach."

Cancer Survivor: 'Entire Community Was There For Me'

Proud cancer survivor Diane Phelps said "We are truly a unified community that has been proudly working towards a common goal for a decade now. The most important aspect of this event isn’t about the dollar amount raised, it’s about the genuine love shown to cancer patients and their families. It’s an incredible feeling to know that no one is going through this alone.

"Standing on the baseline during the halftime ceremony for the first time as someone battling this disease was overwhelming. I couldn’t believe that I was living in that moment, knowing that my entire community was there for me. It was a wonderful feeling. When you know that your community has your back at times like that, it’s emotional and hard to put into words what that feels like.

"Pembroke is special and this game helps to model for all of the students, young and old, what’s most important in life. It’s a great way for young people to get involved and give back. The way that this team, the Pembroke teachers, students, alumni, and basketball families rally around this cause every year is inspirational to me. I’m so blessed to be a part of such an incredible community."

Photo: Front -- Karli Houseknecht (25), Serene Calderón (10), Sydney Johnson (11), Allyson DuBois-Rider (30). Back -- Isabel Breeden (2), Emily Peters (32), Nicole Von Kramer (23), Allie Schwerthoffer (14), Ariel Moss (50).

March 2, 2021 - 12:57pm

Pembroke High School's Lady Dragons Varsity and Junior Varsity Basketball teams will host a Food Truck Rally this Friday as part of their 10th anniversary celebrating their participation in Shooting For A Cure.

A portion of sales will be donated to Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center to help fight breast cancer.

All are welcome to enjoy some delicious food and enter for a chance to win some amazing prizes.

The event will take place from 4 to 8 p.m. at Pembroke High School, located at 8750 Alleghany Road in Pembroke.

Here's a partial list of participating trucks:

  • The Cheesy Chick
  • Buffalo's Best Grill & Catering
  • Babz BBQ
  • Center Street Smokehouse
  • Pub Coffee Hub
January 26, 2021 - 1:45pm

Submitted photos and press release:

The Pembroke Girls Basketball team is currently organizing their 10th annual "Shooting For A Cure!" game in support of funding research efforts at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Due to the current COVID-19 restrictions, no official game date has been set; however we're considering various alternative ways in which to maintain this benevolent tradition as we work alongside our county health department.

Over the past nine seasons our small community has raised more than $152,000 for cancer research at Roswell Park. 

This year we hope to get creative, utilizing virtual alternatives to try and make a difference in our community. We would greatly appreciate your support in sharing our "Shooting For A Cure!" mission with the community. 

We’re currently on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram as well as the Team Roswell website. Please don’t hesitate to reach out to us via e-mail, phone or social media if you have any questions for us or would like to get involved.

We thank you for your continued support and hope that in the weeks ahead we can solidify a game date and additional details as they relate to fundraising and prizes that will be raffled off.

-- The Pembroke Girls Basketball Team & Event Coordinator Michael Wilson

Both photos, from left, are the three seniors who will be participating in this year's event: #32 Emily Peters, #10 Serene Calderón and #23 Nicole Von Kramer.

Letter from Roswell Park Alliance Foundation:

Dear Pembroke Jr./Sr. High School Lady Dragons JV & Varsity Basketball:

Congratulations! I am happy to inform you that the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation has approved your request to host a fundraising event to support Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

The information we have authorized for your event is:

  • Event: Shooting for a Cure!
  • When: Spring 2021
  • Where: Pembroke Jr./Sr. High School
  • Why: To support cancer research and patient-care programs at Roswell Park

We are grateful and honored that you have chosen the Alliance Foundation to be the recipient of your fundraising efforts. It is donors, like you, that make it possible for Roswell Park to continue our mission to eliminate cancer s grip on humanity by unlocking its secrets through personalized approaches and unleashing the healing power of hope.

Welcome to Team Roswell!

January 18, 2020 - 2:12pm

Submitted photo and press release:

It was a record-setting night at Pembroke Jr./Sr. High School on Thursday as the community came out to support the Varsity Girls’ Basketball Team’s ninth annual "Shooting For A Cure!" game.

Throughout the evening and early into Friday morning, donations continued to pour in, bringing this year’s fundraising total to $32,520.20.

That exceeds this year's goal of $30,000.

Since the event’s inception, the team has raised more than $150,000 to help with research efforts at Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.

Head Coach Ron Funke and the Pembroke Varsity Girls’ Basketball Team presented the proceeds of "Shooting For A Cure!" to Team Roswell coordinator Mackenzie Giancarlo in the hospital lobby yesterday. It’s a post-game tradition that Coach Funke acknowledges has great meaning to the program.

When asked how much he has seen the game grow, Funke responded, “Well it started nine years ago when my wife was diagnosed (with breast cancer). And some of the girls on the team wanted to do something for her and for me. And it was $4,000 and now it's basically taking on a life of its own as shown by the $32,000 we made this year. So, growth? Wow.”

Toni Funke, wife of Coach Funke and the inspiration for the inaugural game, joined the team at Roswell for the check presentation.

“All the money we have raised in this event is going towards research and there are always new and better treatments and care for cancer patients, so it means the world to me and a lot of other people," Toni Funke said. "The support alone has grown immensely from the event inception to now. Everybody wants to be a part of this game, and for good reason, because it's helping so many people.”

Team Roswell coordinator Giancarlo met the team to receive the donation and had a few remarks to make during the check presentation.

“We are beyond impressed with 'Shooting For A Cure!' here," Giancarlo said. "It’s one of our top school fundraising events that you guys do, and you do it in a basketball game as the whole community comes together. It’s really impressive. Coming together to raise $32,000 is just more than we could ever expect.”

Following the check presentation at Roswell, the team headed to Chef’s restaurant for their annual post-event dinner.

“There are so many factors that add to the success of our 'Shooting for a Cure!' game,” said senior and captain Megan Conibear. “As a team, we wouldn’t be able to accomplish all that we have without the love and support from our community, local business owners, and the faculty and students at Pembroke.

"Getting to walk into Roswell side by side with both Mr. and Mrs. Funke is such an amazing feeling. After we present the check, we get the chance to bond over a delicious meal.”

The team knows "Shooting For A Cure!" would not be possible without the generous support of countless people, including local businesses and merchants such as:

  • 26Shirts
  • ACES Foundation
  • ADPRO Sports
  • Batavia Country Club
  • Batavia’s Original
  • Buttercrumbs Bakery
  • Clarence Deli
  • Coca-Cola of Rochester
  • Crickler Vending Company
  • Dollar General
  • Dollars for Scholars
  • Dry Creek Group
  • Fava Brothers Lawn Care
  • Five Guys
  • Genesee Feeds
  • Hershey’s Ice Cream
  • Insty-Prints
  • JetBlue Airways
  • Kingdom Bound
  • Knockaround Sunglasses
  • Linda’s Family Diner
  • Maple Ridge Landscaping
  • Mosquito Hunters of Buffalo
  • Northtown Automotive
  • Oliver’s Candies
  • OnCore Golf
  • Original Pizza Logs
  • Pesci’s Pizza and Wings
  • Pillar Real Estate Investors
  • Platinum Fitness
  • Roswell Park Alliance Foundation
  • Sincerely Kayla
  • Six Flags Darien Lake
  • Southwest Airlines
  • Spa at Artemis
  • Sweets by Shelby
  • Terry Hills Restaurant & Banquet Facility
  • Tim Hortons
  • Walt Disney World
  • West Herr Chevy of Orchard Park
  • Yancey’s Fancy -- New York's Artisan Cheese
  • and YMCA of Batavia

About Pembroke High School Girls' Varsity Basketball Team

It is comprised of 10 young women. The current team members, their numbers and positions are: 2 -- Serene Calderón, G; 3 -- Isabel Breede, G; 4 -- Brianna Rindell, F; 11 -- Mackenna Johnson, G; 12 -- Dekari Moss, F; 13 -- Casey Wurtz, F; 14 -- Megan Conibear, F; 21 -- Allie Schwerthoffer, G; 32 -- Emily Peters, G; 34 -- Nicole vonKramer, F.

This season’s captains are Megan Conibear, Mackenna Johnson, Casey Wurtz, and Serene Calderón. The Lady Dragons are coached by Ron Funke and Guy Gabbey.

The team colors are green, white, and black. The team began "Shooting For A Cure!" as an annual event during the 2011-2012 season, and they are committed to the hard work and dedication it will take to win the battle against breast cancer.

About Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

According to its website, “All donations made to Roswell Park are managed by the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that ensures that every donation is put to the best possible use. The Alliance Foundation has been recognized numerous times for these efforts.”

For more information about giving to Roswell Park, click here, and go to “Donate.”

January 17, 2020 - 8:18pm
posted by Howard B. Owens in pembroke, Shooting for a Cure, video.
Video Sponsor

Last night, the Lady Dragons and the Pembroke community raised $32,468.20 for research at Roswell Cancer Institute. The total the community has raised now exceeds $152,000.

In the basketball game, Pembroke beat Oakfield-Alabama 50-47 to move to 11-1 on the season.

January 10, 2020 - 3:00pm

Pembroke High School Girls' Varsity Basketball Team.*

Submitted photo and press release:

The Pembroke Jr./Sr. High School Girls’ Basketball Team will host its ninth annual Shooting For A Cure! event versus Oakfield-Alabama on Thursday, Jan. 16, at 5 p.m. at the high school gymnasium located at the corner of routes 5 and 77 (8750 Alleghany Road) in Pembroke.

The JV basketball game begins at 5:30, while the Varsity game begins at 7 o'clock.

To date, Shooting For A Cure! has raised more than $119,000 and has become one of Roswell Park Comprehensice Cancer Center's largest community-based fundraising events.

This year, the team hopes to raise another $30,000 for the cause. The team is accepting online donations in support of Shooting For A Cure! To make a donation, click here.

There are several other ways to support the cause. Attendees can contribute through various raffles and auctions, purchase food and beverages from the concession stand, and buy merchandise during the event.

The basket raffle includes 100 baskets and gift cards. A sheet of 25 tickets costs $5. There is also a big-item pink ticket raffle. A handful of these tickets remain and cost $5 each or 5 for $20.

One winner will be selected for each of the following prizes: a one-year supply of pizza logs from Original Pizza Logs; an Apple Watch Series 5; an autographed Sam Reinhart jersey; a pair of 200-level Sabres tickets for the March 9th game versus the Washington Capitals; and an autographed Josh Allen football.

The silent auction offers attendees the chance to bid on several high-value items such as: 12 Park Hopper passes to Walt Disney World; two round-trip plane tickets from Southwest; two round-trip plane tickets from JetBlue; a catered dinner party for eight guests; and handcrafted Adirondack chairs made by Pembroke students.

At the concession stand, there will be pizza from Batavia’s Original, pizza logs from Original Pizza Logs, taco in a bag from Clarence Deli, ice cream from Hershey’s, and drinks from Coca-Cola of Rochester and Crickler Vending. Pink ribbons and a variety of Shooting For A Cure! apparel items will also be available for purchase.

Shooting For A Cure! coordinator Mike Wilson would like to give special thanks to community member and former Western Region Vice President of NYSCOPBA (New York State Corrections Officer and Police Benevolent Association) Joe Miano.

According to Wilson, “Over the past four seasons, NYSCOPBA has donated a total of $10,000 to our cause, and I cannot express how grateful we are for the continued community support. I am overwhelmed by their generosity.”

Miano stated, “It’s been a pleasure working with Pembroke’s Shooting For A Cure! over the last four years, watching the endless work all the volunteers put into this great cause for Roswell Park.”

The 2019-2020 Shooting For A Cure! business and organization donors list includes: 26Shirts, ACES Foundation, ADPRO Sports, Batavia Country Club, Batavia’s Original, Buttercrumbs Bakery, Clarence Deli, Coca-Cola of Rochester, Crickler Vending Company, Darien Lake, Dollar General, Dollars for Scholars, Dry Creek Group, Fava Brothers Lawn Care, Five Guys, Genesee Feeds, Hershey’s Ice Cream, Insty-Prints, JetBlue Airways, Kingdom Bound, Knockaround Sunglasses, Linda’s Family Diner, Maple Ridge Landscaping, Mosquito Hunters of Buffalo, Northtown Automotive, Oliver’s Candies, OnCore Golf, Original Pizza Logs, Pesci’s Pizza and Wings, Pillar Real Estate Investors, Platinum Fitness, Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, Sincerely Kayla, Southwest Airlines, Spa at Artemis, Terry Hills, Tim Hortons, Walt Disney World, West Herr Chevy of Orchard Park, Yancey’s Fancy, and YMCA of Batavia.

Businesses or organizations wishing to donate to this year’s event should contact Mike Wilson by calling 716.949.0523.

The event itself began nine years ago when the Pembroke Girls’ Varsity Basketball team approached then Head Coach Mike Wilson with an idea to show their support for Toni Funke, wife of beloved coach and Pembroke teacher Ron Funke in her battle against breast cancer.

They wanted to play a game in her honor to raise money for cancer research. Since then, Shooting For A Cure! has blossomed into a huge community event attracting supporters from throughout Western New York.

Regardless of how large the event has grown, the goal remains the same: show support for community members in the fight against cancer. To make this night special for cancer survivors, current patients, and families, the varsity halftime program is dedicated to recognizing people from all of these groups.

As part of the halftime program, members of the varsity and junior varsity teams give each honoree a flower and a hug. It is a great way to show love and support to those who have been touched by this far-reaching disease.

Anyone who would like to support this noble cause is encouraged to do so by coming to the event or visiting the Shooting For A Cure! donation page here.

About Pembroke High School Girls' Varsity Basketball Team

The team colors are green, white, and black. 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.

*The team is comprised of 10 young women. The current team members, their numbers and positions are: 2 -- Serene Calderón, G; 3 -- Isabel Breede, G; 4 -- Brianna RindellF; 11 -- Mackenna JohnsonG12 -- Dekari MossF13 -- Casey WurtzF; 14 -- Megan ConibearF21 -- Allie SchwerthofferG; 32 -- Emily PetersG34 -- Nicole vonKramerF.

This season’s captains are Megan Conibear, Mackenna Johnson, Casey Wurtz, and Serene Calderón. The Lady Dragons are coached by Ron Funke and Guy Gabbey.

About Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center

According to its website, “All donations made to Roswell Park are managed by the Roswell Park Alliance Foundation, a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization that ensures that every donation is put to the best possible use. The Alliance Foundation has been recognized numerous times for these efforts.” For more information about giving to Roswell Park, click here, and go to “Donate.”

January 14, 2019 - 12:03pm

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

To purchase prints, click here.

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