2017-02-02 / Front Page

Community Raises $14,000+ in Game

Local Patients Will Benefit From Donations as Saints and Trojans Fans Join Forces
By Kevin R. Hess

Hooping for a Cure, also known as the “pink game” for its use of pink jerseys, begins with a ceremonial tip-off. This year’s participants are
(from left): St. Ignace seniors Jordan Belleville and Jade Edelman, Prentiss “Moie” Brown, retired sportswriter David Latva of The St. Ignace
News, oncologist Ed Smith, Cedarville seniors Elissa Griffin and Emma Bohn, and retiring Mackinac Straits Health System CEO Rod Nelson.Hooping for a Cure, also known as the “pink game” for its use of pink jerseys, begins with a ceremonial tip-off. This year’s participants are (from left): St. Ignace seniors Jordan Belleville and Jade Edelman, Prentiss “Moie” Brown, retired sportswriter David Latva of The St. Ignace News, oncologist Ed Smith, Cedarville seniors Elissa Griffin and Emma Bohn, and retiring Mackinac Straits Health System CEO Rod Nelson.

Tuesday, January 24, marked the ninth annual Hooping for a Cure fundraiser, also known as the “pink game.” The St. Ignace Lady Saints battled the Cedarville Lady Trojans, but on this night they came together to battle a different opponent—cancer. All money raised supported a program called No Cancer Patient Left Behind. This is a program created through the oncology unit of Mackinac Straits Health System (MSHS) and the Mackinac Straits Health Foundation. It helps patients who have to travel for services that cannot be provided at MSHS. When patients must travel to other cities, such as Traverse City or Ann Arbor, the program assists with gas, food, and lodging costs.


At Hooping for a Cure, every varsity and junior varsity player, coach, and manager from the St. Ignace and Cedarville teams was sponsored by local businesses and families in honor or in memory of family, friends, and community members affected by cancer. At Hooping for a Cure, every varsity and junior varsity player, coach, and manager from the St. Ignace and Cedarville teams was sponsored by local businesses and families in honor or in memory of family, friends, and community members affected by cancer. As of Monday, January 30, more than $14,000 has been raised through the game. More funds are due to come in, so that number could end up even higher. On average, past fundraisers have yielded between $12,000 and $13,000, so organizers are very pleased with this year’s efforts. Mike Grisdale, marketing director for MSHS, is from Cheboygan and has participated in the game before, but this was the first year that he was part of the planning committee.

“It’s amazing how much work goes into this event,” he said. Both [the St. Ignace and Les Cheneaux] communities were very involved, and funds came in through a variety of means, from both individuals and businesses.”

The night included raffles, a 50/50 drawing, and commemorative T-shirts. The winner of the 50/50 drawing was LaSalle senior E.J. Schultz, who then donated part of his winnings back to the hospital. The highlight, however, was the recognition of family, friends, and loved ones who are facing, or have passed from, cancer. Every varsity and junior varsity player, coach, and manager was sponsored by families or businesses in honor or in memory of cancer patients. Family members of the cancer patients, or the patients themselves, escorted each one. Emotions were high and tears flowed as person after person was introduced in front of a packed crowd in the LaSalle High School gymnasium. By the end of introductions, the court was filled with hundreds of people affected one way or another by cancer.

Following introductions, St. Ignace coach Dorene Ingalls shared the history of the pink game, expressed thanks to all those who have helped make this event a success, highlighted friends who were in attendance experiencing cancer that were not able to attend previous years, and reminded all in this battle that their community stands with them. Ed Smith, oncologist at MSHS, then addressed the crowd about how cancer affects everyone in some way.

“If you’re here tonight, and you don’t know a friend, family member, or loved one who has battled cancer, you should go out there and buy a bunch of raffle tickets because you may be the luckiest person in here,” he said.

He also spoke of the advances researchers are making in conquering cancer. He said that even though the numbers of people surviving are rising, it’s not good enough until a cure is found.

“When I hear someone talking about having ‘the big C’, I want it to be because they just had a burger from Clyde’s,” he quipped.

Coach Ingalls presented Rod Nelson, CEO of the hospital, with his own pink jersey and thanked him for his work in partnering the hospital with this event over the years. Mr. Nelson is retiring this year as CEO.

A ceremonial tip-off began the game and included St. Ignace seniors Jordan Belleville and Jade Edelman, Cedarville Seniors Elissa Griffin and Emma Bohn, Prentiss “Moie” Brown, Dr. Smith, Mr. Nelson, and David Latva, who recently retired as sportswriter for The St. Ignace News. (See coverage of the game in a separate story of this edition.)

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