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Powerful in Pink

By Staff | Feb 6, 2015

Lori Gronvold/PCT Players, fans and officials rallied in support of Ashley Seykora, of Towner, who has stage 4 melanoma, at the Rugby-TGU boys basketball game Jan. 30 at RHS.

On Jan. 30, Panther faithful and TGU Titans fans alike wore pink and raised their hands in a triangle in support of a good cause.

The event was a “pink out” to raise cancer awareness as well as donations. This year’s event, according to event organizer and Rugby High School social studies teacher Brenda Bernhardt, differed from previous events as it was on a more personal level.

An estimated $3,600 was raised, which went to the Dan and Ashley Seykora family of Towner, both of whom teach at TGU Towner School. Dan assists in coaching track and field at RHS. Ashley is receiving treatment for stage 4 melanoma, a deadly type of skin cancer.

“By far it was our largest event and our most successful. It had the most connection and the most emotion,” Bernhardt said.

Dan, who had not been to a pink out before, said both the attendance and support were “phenomenal.”

“It blew us away how big the event was for the community and how it included our community as well,” Dan Seykora said.

Bernhardt said: “If you were there that night, you felt the communities come together. Our community is very open to helping people, and businesses have always been open to helping out in any way.

Members of the Seykora family were also involved in pink out events, as they wore pink suits and led dance-offs during the halftimes for the varsity and junior varsity games. Ashley’s brother, Brad, spoke to the crowd after the game and encouraged those in attendance to make a triangle with their hands in support of Ashley.

Of the $3,600 raised, $1,100 was in monetary donations collected by cheerleaders from those in attendance. The track team held a bake sale, which raised $782. Silent auctions and dollar tickets brought in $919 and $900, respectively.

One of the usual events at home basketball games had a large pot, the 50/50 tickets. The ticket contest, in which money is split between organizers and a lucky winner, brought in $850. David Hill won the contest and donated his winnings.

“He said he made up his mind. ‘If I win, the money’s going right back into the fund,’ ” Bernhardt said.

The pink out started five years ago as a pet project for the girls basketball team, and was usually done during boys/girls doubleheaders in February. Planning for the event begins at the start of basketball season with the help of the Sports Boosters. The girls basketball team solicits businesses and individuals for donations to the event. In the past, pink out organizers worked with the American Cancer Society/Relay for Life, who then decided where funds raised would go.

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