Through Play4TheCure, Chelsea Field Hockey has played a pivotal role in bridging communities together to support a cause that has touched so many lives.
The Michigan field hockey club was co-founded by Roxy Block, a beloved and influential field hockey player and coach who passed away from breast cancer in December 2017.
After Roxy was diagnosed in 2010, the community mobilized to support Roxy and other breast cancer patients. For years, Chelsea Field Hockey raised money for breast cancer research, eventually joining Play4TheCure at the National Foundation for Cancer Research (NFCR) in 2015. Since then, Chelsea Field Hockey has raised over $18,000 for breast cancer research at NFCR, this year raising $5,686.
“Each year, we sit down and think ‘Should we do it?’ and the answer is always a resounding yes,” says Chelsea Field Hockey’s Play4TheCure organizer, Sharon Kegerreis. The enthusiasm of players and communities is clear. “ was a record-breaking year for us, so it was pretty exciting.”
This fall, Chelsea field hockey hosted a variety of fundraising events, centering around their fifth annual Play4TheCure games. On October 10, 2019, Chelsea Field Hockey’s Beach Middle School team played an exciting match against Honey Creek Community School. The varsity team then took on Ann Arbor Huron High School, the reigning state tournament champion.
Much of the preparation comes before the event, however. “We have fun preparing for the game,” Sharon shares.
This year, players decorated pumpkins and posters to bring to the game. One poster was made to honor Stacey Adams, an admired member of the community who recently passed away from cancer.
To get the word out and to gather early donations, Chelsea Field Hockey started its CrowdRise online fundraising campaign three weeks before the game. Game attendance is key to the success of the event, particularly because all gate fees at the Play4TheCure game are donated. To encourage attendance, players passed out Play4TheCure wristbands and tattoos at school.
Players wear pink jerseys, ribbons, and gear for breast cancer awareness. The pink jerseys that the Chelsea Field Hockey varsity team wears are actually the original team jerseys picked out by Roxy.
And, new this year was the Play 4 Pumpkin Patch! Players decorated individual pumpkins and displayed them at the game. Spectators could donate and take a pumpkin home. This fun and festive activity raised over $200 for breast cancer research!
To keep fans informed, there were announcements throughout the night with fundraising updates. “The crowds were cheering every time we made an announcement,” Sharon recalls.
“[Play4TheCure] really builds such a community connection in our southeast Michigan, not just with the [Chelsea Field Hockey] community but beyond with our field hockey neighbors,” Sharon remarks.
Opponents Honey Creek and Ann Arbor Huron also played a significant role in fundraising for cancer research. Before the event, Honey Creek raised $945 by hosting a bake sale and Ann Arbor Huron raised $1,500 by asking for donations. Additionally, fans who attend the event help to increase gate donations for the evening.
“It’s a connected community event. I think it has brought communities together, and I think that, to me, that’s really special.” Sharon conveys. “It’s a fight that we can all take on and get behind and become one big team in the battle to find cures for all cancers.”
Keep up with Play4TheCure!
If you want to share your Play4TheCure story OR if you are interested in getting involved, email Play4TheCure@nfcr.org to get started! For more updates follow us on Twitter (@P4TC_NFCR), Facebook (Play4TC) and Instagram (@Play4thecure) To support one of our teams, visit our Crowdrise page!