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Chargers for Change, OOP bring community together for a cure

February 20, 2012

Ancilla womens basketball player Rebecca Bunkowfst is all smiles after a “dash for cash”

PLYMOUTH — The LifePlex was in the “pink” once again Saturday afternoon as the Ancilla College Charger basketball teams and the Ounce of Prevention Foundation teamed up to raise awareness and money to fight breast cancer in their annual “Charger’s for Change” event.
The combination has been a successful one for both parties and Saturday’s event was no exception as fans filled the gym to join in the festivities led by Ounce of Prevention with music provided by the LaVille High School pep band.
“It’s great to be able to work with a top flight organization that is also local,” said Ancilla Athletics Director Gene Reese. “The Oliver family (founders of Ounce of Prevention Foundation) have done so much for cancer patients in this community. They bring a real passion to this fight against cancer and we are just happy to be able to be a part of it.”
The passion for the Oliver’s is a personal one. Sister’s Jen Houin and Jessica Oliver worked to create Ounce of Prevention when brother John Oliver III’s wife Michelle was diagnosed with breast cancer. They have also lost two grandmothers to the disease. In the course of their work they’ve seen many whose lives have been changed by a loved one’s fight with the disease.
“For us this event is really a lot about awareness,” said John who acted as Emcee for the festivities Saturday. “Many people don’t realize how much impact cancer has on people in the area. Events like this are important for education and reaching out to the entire community.”
“It’s exciting to see so many people from all over come out to support us and those they know who’ve struggled with cancer,” said Jess. “Our relationships with the student athletes here at Ancilla are something that’s been really special. Many of these kids aren’t from the area but it’s as important to them to help this community as it is to us. Those relationships have been really rewarding over the years.”
The event allows Ancilla to teach their athletes lessons outside of the classroom.
“We work hard to help our student athletes understand that they are more fortunate than most others and hopefully help them to understand the importance of giving back to the community,” said Reese. “We have tried to make that kind of service a big part of the experience for our athletes. We know we are more stringent than most colleges when it comes to the classroom and homework and community service but we want our athletes to know that it’s important to be a winner by helping others or in the classroom it’s not just winning on the field.”
Learn more about Ounce of Prevention and how you can help at http://plymouthounceofprevention.org.
Learn more about Ancilla College at http://www.ancilla.edu.

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