FHC’s Fundraising Frenzy

Maddie Yob, Staff Writer

There was little to no talk in the locker room. Only the faint sound of the heater was heard. As the coach tells the team to take the court, they run out waiting for the applause. This exact feeling makes people all around the world feel and act extraordinary. But what many don’t realize is not all of us have the opportunity to feel just that. Everyday close to 900 people are diagnosed with cancer and over 33% of infants are born with a birth defect. It is because of these facts that people aren’t allowed to play sports, or do anything a normal teenager would do. Throughout the past couple of years, FHC has provided hope through fundraising that one day these people that are diagnosed will be able to feel the feeling of running out onto the court.

FHC has raised $148,850 in only 4 years. This amount has helped many charities, such as Milan’s Miracle Fund, the Van Andel Institute Cancer Research Center, and Gilda’s Club, and Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital and many more.

When junior Sara Johnson campaigned to have pediatric cancer meet back, she asked junior swimmer Katie Ringler to help plan it along with other FH swimmers. Instead of “Battle for the Hills”, the two Forest hills teams (FHC and FHN/E) came together to fundraise for pediatric cancer research. Considering the fact that September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, they turned a rivalry meet into a meet where they had to work together.

“It was an exciting experience,” Ringler said. “It was really cool to see what we [FH Girls Swim Teams] could do when we got together for a common cause.”

That night, the FH swim team ended up giving a check to Helen DeVos Children’s hospital for $11,000.

Ringler, Johnson, and some other FH Swimmers were in charge of helping with the event and attending many meetings.

“In these meetings, we would put people in charge of setting up, getting flyers, and going to different businesses to get sponsorships and donations,” Ringler said.

Ringler’s swim team was not the only one team responsible for fundraising. Senior football captain Ben Kurakazusampson and the rest of the FHC football team also contributed to the fundraising game.

“We sold t shirts and we collected donations, from families and local businesses,” Kurakazusampson said.

This was the first fundraising event for the football team and they raised $11,000, for the Gilda’s Club, a club that provides free emotional healthcare to all who have been affected by cancer.

Kurakazusampson shares Ringler’s philosophy that it was very exciting to see everyone coming together and supporting each other for a common cause, no made what grade or school that they go to.

According to Ringler, the meet was so successful that they are planning on raising more money for pediatric cancer next year, as long as it lands in September with Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

Although many schools around West Michigan are doing fundraisers, they continue to support each other as they are all coming together for a common cause.

According to girls soccer coach Jeremy Stacy, we have participated in a fundraising game at Caledonia and even though we didn’t organize it, and it was still a great feeling to be out there supporting the cause.

“I think our community has been amazing, students have supported each other, throughout the planning and the games,” Stacy said.

Stacy along with Kurakazusampson, both believe that they community has been overwhelmingly helpful throughout all the fundraising efforts.

“The community was very supportive they were not only buying t-shirts, but they were also giving us extra money and telling us to keep the change,” Kurakazusampson said.

Money and support have been given to help with families medical expenses and finding a cure for many diseases and illnesses. Support is a fundamental key of fundraising and life, that according to Athletic Director Clark Udell, sometimes get lost, as we put our own ambitions before others.

“Sometimes through the fundraising and even charity work that teams have done it expands their world. They realize that our world is a lot bigger than us as individuals or us as a team,” Udell said. “It makes us realize that there is need that shows itself in a lot of different faces in the world, some of which we can control and some we can not.”

While many students at FHC are fortunate to be able to plan sports and act like a normal teenager,others are not. Fundraising has helped by giving support to those who can’t act like a normal teenager, and giving them hope through money that one day they will be a normal teenager.

“Being able to help someone, who doesn’t get the opportunity to feel that extraordinary feeling of diving in the water makes the fundraiser that much more special,” Ringler said.