Community’s support appreciated

For seven years, the Waunakee Hockey team has helped raise awareness and funds for pancreatic cancer research through a “local” version of the NHL’s Hockey Fights Cancer initiative. The Warrior Hockey program and Booster Club, continue to step up and support those fighting this disease that has a single digit five year-survival rate of just 9 percent.

The week leading up to the Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Night, the Warriors were at school raising awareness during both lunches where they sold items, handed out information and promoted their upcoming game. This year was very similar, except there seemed to be a competition building. I was present the last shift of the week when one hockey player saw that his group was just short of being the top fundraising shift, he unselfishly opened his wallet and took out a $10 bill to put in the bucket. The Waunakee student body donated over $400! I am continually humbled by the level of maturity and grace in which this team promotes awareness of a disease that will affect over 55,000 people this year and kill over 44,000 of those.

A testament that people are becoming #pancAWARE is when the high school office received a call from a woman in Beaver Dam that had seen the live television remotes and asked how she could get one of the Hockey Fights Cancer foam pucks that the hockey team was selling at their lunches for her friend who was diagnosed…or when a young man in 5th grade came up to our table during the event and struck up a conversation with one of the volunteers. He told her that he had just learned about the body organs in science class and that he knew what the function of the pancreas was. He then asked if he could take a ribbon back for his teacher. That simple act of wearing a ribbon could cause a conversation, that could cause action! It started with a teacher, an event and the opportunity.

It doesn’t matter the cause, the person, or the event, the Waunakee community pulls together and supports! From Head Coach Eric Olson and his coaching staff eagerly opting to be a part of this event and encouraging their teams to be engaged, to the Booster Club organizing, planning and running with great ideas from the parents, to the Ice Pond employees inviting the opposing teams to be a part of raising awareness, to the very generous Sponsor match of the Miracle Minute that Carl F. Statz & sons has done for over five years, to the media responding to our requests and this year doing a live remote from the Ice Pond! Waunakee is truly an inspiration and a community that others strive to be like.

On behalf of the Madison Affiliate of the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network, all pancreatic cancer patients, families and survivors, thank you for supporting the fight and helping us to demand better.

Tammy Andries


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