September 20, 2018

Funds, awareness to be raised through annual dual-school Pink Out game


MIO –– The Mio AuSable and Fairview volleyball teams will join together once again to support breast cancer awareness and raise funds for breast cancer research during a Pink Out game Oct. 19 at 6 p.m.

Funds raised will go to a patient special needs fund that is designated for Oscoda County residents at the Munson Healthcare Grayling Cancer & Infusion Center, according to event organizer Michelle Knepp.

In the first game held in 2012, the teams raised $790, while in 2013, $1,032 was raised. That amount more than doubled in 2014 with $2,108 raised. In 2015, $5,272 was raised, and last year $7,044 was raised. The goal for 2017 is to reach $10,000 in funds.

Knepp said the event started in 2012 with Fairview hosting the game, and two years later the Mio team was invited to participate.

“It was so successful that it was decided to keep doing it,” Knepp said. “Each year Mio and Fairview take turns hosting the event. 2017 is the fourth year that the two schools have joined forces and we are thrilled with the support of the community so far.”

Knepp said the athletes will be playing the game in honor of someone with cancer or someone who died from cancer.

“Each player will be announced and the name of who they are honoring will be announced at that time,” Knepp said. “Flowers will be passed out to the person they are honoring.”

The flowers that will be passed out were donated by Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital, as well as water bottles and hair ribbons for the players.

Hayley Fiser, the marketing manager at Grayling Hospital, said the fundraising event is very helpful to the patients from the community as the funds can go toward paying for gas, meals or any other needs the patients might have during their treatments.

“This is our second year helping,” Fiser said. “Three years ago, Tika Mitchell-Cowie received a rose from one of the players and it really touched her, so she approached Mary Bickel and I about sponsoring the games and providing the roses and some things for the players and people that come because it was such a touching event for her to go to and it really meant a lot to her and she saw how much the community came together to support the girls, families and patients in the community because of this game.”

After Mitchell-Cowie approached them, a small Pink Out committee was formed to set up a small sponsorship budget in order to help with the event.

“We’re really excited,” Fiser said. “This is one of the events we look forward to doing every year. The Pink Out committee absolutely loves working on this and we’re really excited for the 19th.”

For the goal this year, organizers hosted change drives and 50-50 raffles at both schools and also sold T-shirts until Oct. 2. They were able to sell 788 shirts, nearly 200 more than in previous years. Raffle tickets have been sold for a deer blind, which was built by Ken Troyer of Fairview with the materials being donated by Highland Lumber, Fairview Hardware, Fairview BP and Nu-Way Stove of Onaway.

“Because of them, 100 percent of the profit will be donated to the cancer center at Munson Healthcare Grayling Hospital,” Knepp said.

Knepp said the winning ticket for the deer blind will be drawn Oct. 19, during the Pink Out game. The game will begin at 6 p.m. and the drawings and silent auction are scheduled for 7 p.m. The blind will be traveling through Oscoda County between now and the event and tickets will be sold where the blind is. Information on those locations is on the Pink Out game’s Facebook event page to view.

“This year we also partnered with Tammy Gadowski, Thirty-One consultant from Mio, to do chemo care bags,” Knepp said. “We sold over 50 of those and will be accepting donations for inside the bags at the Pink Out event. If anyone is interested in donating there is a suggested list of items on the Facebook event page. The bags will be given to the cancer centers at both Grayling and Alpena hospitals.”

Knepp said she and other organizers have been encouraging others in the county to come together and wear pink at the game in support of those battling cancer or those who have lost their battle.

Knepp said the response to the annual fundraiser has been overwhelming and that she has been constantly amazed at the support the participants get from Oscoda County.

“Each year we raise more money and we get more people who want to help with the event,” she said. “The community that we live in is amazing and I am proud to be a part of it. We are well on our way to reaching our goal of $10,000 and that is because of the support of the people who live in Oscoda County. I am very much looking forward to packing Mio high school gym with supporters wearing pink.”

Knepp said the decision for Mio and Fairview to come together and host this event was not a hard one.

“We are both strong communities and it shows with the support that we are getting,” she said. “I have had people come up to me and tell me that they cried at the event watching the two teams present flowers in honor of cancer survivors and those they lost. The event has made them want to do more for not only this event but others that are within the community.”

The game will be hosted at Mio AuSable Schools, located at 1110 W. Eighth St. in Mio. Those who wish to donate or find more information may contact Knepp at 989-370-0813 or Fairview event coordinator Lynn Layman at 989-335-3903, or follow the Facebook event page.

“We are not at our goal yet and we are not giving up until we get there,” Knepp said.


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