Bobcats And Panthers Partner With The Clarion Sunshine Project’s Hoops For Hope Event; Nearly $7,000 Raised This Year

Above Photo: part of the Ribbon

The Clarion Bobcats and Keystone Panthers joined forces The Clarion Sunshine Project, at Clarion Area High School on Friday, February 10th, In the 8th Annual Hoops for Hope Cancer Awareness and Fundraising Program, which raised nearly $7,000.

Photo courtesy of Nate Girvan: The Clarion Singers sang “Rise Up” as the Ribbon formed

On average, this event raises roughly $5,000, with all proceeds going to The Sunshine Project. This non-profit helps cancer patients pay their medical bills that their health insurance doesn’t cover, i.e., their deductible and out-of-pocket expenses.

Nate Girvan photo: Bryce Brinkley celebrating with his Grandma, Gwen Rhoades

There were basketball games at various levels, throughout the afternoon and evening, with the ceremony taking place between the Varsity girls and Varsity boys games.

The Clarion Area Pep Band directed by Miss Sarah Dawson, opened the Varsity games and played throughout the evening.

The program began with the teams (players, coaches, staff) and Keystone Cheerleaders (the Bobcats don’t have a cheer squad) walking into the gym and forming a huge Ribbon. (Ribbons are used to raise awareness about cancer and to show support for folks facing the disease.)

The Clarion Area Pep Band played the National Anthem.

As the Ribbon was formed cancer survivors and fighters were invited to join them on the gym floor, as the Clarion Singers, under the direction of Miss Sarah Matson, sang “Rise Up,” which has been adopted as an anthem for the fight against cancer, during the formation of the Ribbon. The survivors and fighters received a huge round of applause as they came to the floor.

The Cancer Center’s Mary Rearick introduced 2001 Keystone graduate and cancer survivor Andrea Courson, who shared about the ways she has been helped by the Sunshine Project.

(Left to Right) Mary Rearick, Tracy Myers and Survivor Andrea Courson, who shared about the help she received from the Sunshine Project.

Tracy Myers, Director of Oncology Services at Butler Health System – Clarion Hospital, shared that they passed their 20th anniversary last September, and that they passed the $300,000 mark last year and this year hit the $400,000 mark for money given to patients to help with their bills.

(Cancer patients receiving treatment at Butler Health System Cancer Care at Clarion Hospital who are in need of financial help can apply for a grant from The Clarion Sunshine Project.)

Photo courtesy of Nate Girvan – Clarion’s Dauntae Girvan and Keystone’s Natalie Bowser

She shared about Tiki Kahle and her “Mrs. Claus Club” doing wonderful work helping the patients and survivors with many of their day to day essentials. She also mentioned the Eagles and Route 66 Sporting Goods who were instrumental in procuring state of the art equipment.

A display in the lobby

There were raffle tickets for fabulous gift baskets donated by area businesses and individuals, and also a “Lucky Duck” toss.

This is the eighth year for the Hoops for Hope celebration. In an earlier article, Mary shared how Hoops for Hope came about, “Hoops For Hope was birthed from Union’s Battle In The Burg from years ago. That event was always held between Union and Keystone. When the group that organized that event decided to retire holding The battle in the burg, Jen Wingard and myself decided to try and continue with the idea of a fund raiser to help cancer patients in the area.

The raffle table in the lobby

“Laura Burford expressed an interest so we decided to make it a yearly event between Clarion and Keystone and came up with the name Hoops For Hope. Each year it is overwhelming the amount of support we get from the community! People look forward to the event every year.”

Mary shared exciting news about the success of this year’s program, “Our total is $6,667.00. As usual, we were totally amazed with the amount of people who showed up to not only support the basketball teams, but also to be the community to support those who are fighting cancer.

“Thanks for all you do!”

Next year’s event will be held at Keystone.

(Congratulations to all involved with this worthwhile project!!!! Thanks to Nate Girvan for his photos!!)