Submitted photo and press release:
It was a record-setting night at Pembroke Jr./Sr. High School as the community came out to support the Pembroke Girls Basketball Team’s 10th annual "Shooting For A Cure!" game.
On Friday night, by game’s end, "Shooting For A Cure!" had raised more than $38,000. From open donations and apparel sales, to the Food Truck Rally and raffle tickets, the Pembroke community shattered the previous record of $33,050.20.
Throughout the evening and over the weekend, more donations continued to come in bringing this year’s total to $41,105.21, leaving them shy of their $48,000 event and $200,000 overall contributions goal.
The team remains focused on eclipsing the $200,000 mark by April 1stand is accepting online donations in support of "Shooting For A Cure!" at.
Since 2011, when the team decided to use their passion for playing basketball as a platform from which to host a fundraiser for breast cancer research at Roswell Park in support of community member, Toni Funke, the team has raised more than $192,500 in contributions for Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center through "Shooting For A Cure!"
In addition to raising funds, the team wanted to show their support for Mrs. Funke as she battled cancer. The tradition of supporting, honoring, and remembering those impacted by cancer also continues.
Between the JV and Varsity games, the team held a ceremony to memorialize eight community members who have lost their battles with cancer as well as to honor 28 cancer survivors. Each varsity player lined up at center court and took turns sharing the names of a loved one, teacher, friend, or community member whose life has been touched by cancer. After each person was recognized by name, a rose was added to a vase at center court in his or her honor.
“The halftime ceremony was emotional for me this year for many reasons,” said Ron Funke, Pembroke Girls Basketball coach. “It was so well done; it was simple, yet elegant and very moving. It also marked a decade since Toni’s initial diagnosis.
"As I continue to reflect on this game and its growth, I am overwhelmed by the love and support this community shows these players every season. The players and the event organizers have so much passion for this cause and Pembroke continues to rally around it more and more each year.
"It’s unbelievable to think what our small town is able to do. I mean, think about it, we’re closing in on $200,000 raised for cancer research in 10 years. That figure is just astounding to me.”
Senior Serene Calderón said "I can’t even explain in words all of the emotions that I felt on Friday. I am so grateful to have had a chance to be a part of something so amazing. This year was chaotic and challenging for me and my teammates, but what our community was able to accomplish made it all worth it.
"I was able to spend my last night as a player in that gym, playing for something so much bigger than just me. To think that Pembroke came together to raise over $40,000 is just incredible. I had set a goal early in this season to try to become the leading scorer in Pembroke history. To accomplish that during the Pink Game, with Breanna Johnson there, who held the scoring record and started 'Shooting For A Cure!,' was so overwhelming for me; it all just came full circle for me in that moment.
"I cried all weekend. Accomplishing that personal goal was a great feeling, but it’s an even better feeling when I reflect on what we’ve been able to raise for cancer research this season. I still can’t believe that we’ve raised over $40,000, it’s just amazing.”
According to Allie Schwerthoffer, “ 'Shooting For A Cure!' gives you a sense of purpose.”
She added that there are so many ways to get involved and that any contribution, no matter how big or small, means the world to the team and to those at Roswell.
“Throughout my years of being involved in this game," Allie said. "I have been able to take a step back and recognize what is really important in life. Showing support for others in a time of need gives me a sense of gratitude that cannot be replicated. I have been blessed to be a part of such an incredible community that has each other’s backs no matter what.
"This game is an opportunity that I don’t take for granted. I have the power to make a change. This year we raised over $40,000 and it’s amazing what such a small family-like community can accomplish when we come together to help one another.”
Arron K. Brown, sixth-grade teacher, worked tirelessly all evening running around the parking lot, braving the freezing cold temperatures. Because of pandemic restrictions and protocols, he reimagined his "Snack Shack" as a food truck rally. Five trucks showed up for the event.
“The Pembroke community always comes out in support of this event every year. It was important to me to uphold this proud tradition we share. I’m extremely thankful that Macarollin’, Center Street, Pub Hub, Cheesy Chick, and Lloyd’s came out in support of our inaugural Food Truck Rally,” Brown said. “There was a steady stream of people from 4 to 8 p.m., waiting in the freezing cold, for dinner, all in support of this cause.
"The wind was whipping through the parking lot, the temps were definitely below freezing, yet the Pembroke faithful all came out to grab dinner and show their support for 'Shooting For A Cure!,'. Mr. Bailey and Miss Komosinski had the drumline going early on which added to the atmosphere! I’d also like to thank Mrs. Fenik, Mr. Kinal, Mr. Strzelec, and Mrs. Wilson for all of their help outside with directing traffic, parking cars, selling raffle tickets, and keeping the evening safe for all of our supporters. It was a complete team effort all around.”
There are still opportunities to help. In addition to a direct donation through our donation page, local State Farm Insurance agent Mark Lewis has pledged $10 per insurance quote to "Shooting For A Cure!" for every new customer auto quote completed from March 1 through March 31. 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!"