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News :: Pink Night: Vikettes continue tradition with survivors
· 8:30am February 4th, 2013
Three years ago, the members of the Vinton-Shellsburg High School basketball team invited some area breast cancer survivors to join them in raising awareness and funds to fight the disease.
That 2010 event began a tradition of cooperation between the school's sports teams and the survivors. It also inspired the survivors to create a breast cancer survivors' support group.
On Friday, several members of that group returned to the high school for the fourth year in a row. Escorted by basketball players, each survivor was introduced as the audience applauded and waved hands covered with pink gloves.
A dozen survivors entered the gym before the varsity game, accompanied by family members and escorted by Vikettes. Shirley Butts was first, accompanied by granddaughter and Vikette Jennifer Westcott. The two shared a tearful hug after the senior escorted her grandmother from the gym.
Other survivors who stood before the crowd included: Kathie Ervin, Roxanne Harms, Sue Hill, Joan Hyde, Nancy Long, Judy Renken, Angie Tharp, Charlotta Toth-Fisher, Deb Wilberg, Barbara Wittmer and Dawn Yenser.
The audience then heard a list of other known area breast cancer survivors before finally paying tribute to a few who have died in the past year. Those include Judy Wood, (whom many of the athletes remember as a teacher's associate at Tilford Elementary), Jacque Cashman, Ramona Harvey and Tina Reifenstahl
Finally, the team honored another granmother who recently, died, although of another disease that is mentioned in February. Marynell Rolland. Marynell was the grandmother of Vikette Sara Jorgensen; Coach Deb Hanneman presented some flowers to Sara and her mother, Nancy, in memory of Marynell, who recently died of complications from a heart attack. February is the month to raise awareness of heart-related illnesses.
The survivors have formed a group called "Breast Cancer Survivors of Benton County." That group submitted the highest bid for the pink quilt made by the Ternus family. Coach Hanneman was the high bidder for the pink basketball (autographed by the current Vikettes) which was used in Friday's game. Two other baskets were also sold via silent auction. The players wore pink uniforms, and many in the crowd also bought special T-shirts for the event. Coach Hanneman said final fund-raising amounts are still being tallied; the funds will soon be presented to the VGH Imaging Services Dept. for its Mammography unit.
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