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Pink in the Rink event aids Massena family

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MASSENA - When J.W. Leary Junior High School teacher Wendy LaShomb was called to the principal’s office on Wednesday, she had no idea what to expect.

“I was scared to death,” she admitted.

But, when she arrived, she found not just Principal Burton Peck, but also Ellen Greene, Mia Jermano and Emily Wilmshurst, three members of the Massena girls’ varsity hockey team, along with their coach, Jennifer Gray, and Athletic Director Timothy Hayes.

And a donation check from a benefit hockey game the team had held earlier this year.

Ms. LaShomb’s 23-year-old son had been diagnosed with cancer and had one arm amputated at the shoulder, and the team had decided to donate a portion of the proceeds from their “Pink in the Rink” fundraising hockey game to the family.

“Pink in the Rink” is an annual fundraiser for the team. Members wear pink jerseys and hold various fundraising activities such as selling pin-up cards, holding a chuck-a-puck event and organizing a 50-50 raffle. This year’s effort raised approximately $850.

“Every year we do a Pink in the Rink game. The girls do all the work. As a team we decided we want to help people. This year the girls chose you and your family. We know that you guys have been touched and want to help you,” Ms. Gray said.

“It means a lot. Our family has been through a lot. But it could be a lot worse,” Ms. LaShomb said. “You guys don’t know how much I’m touched. I’m speechless. I’m so touched that you guys would think of me and my family.”

“It’s a good cause. It’s good to be able to help you out,” Mr. Hayes said.

Ms. LaShomb said her son had the operation done in Denver, Colo., but is back home in Massena now and has been hooked up with doctors in New York City, who will oversee his progress.

“He’s home now. He’s cancer-free. He’s doing really well. He has a positive attitude,” she said.

“Tell him we’re thinking of him and wish him the best,” Ms. Gray said.

Ms. Jermano said they’re not done with their donations yet.

“We’re splitting it with another family,” she said.

“It’s another local family in the district,” Ms. Gray said.

In addition to raising money for the two families, the Massena team was also a winner on the ice, defeating Saranac, 8-0 in the benefit game.

They had raised $950 during the 2013 “Pink in the Rink” game. That money, along with money raised by the girls’ and boys’ junior varsity basketball teams and wrestling team, was donated to the Claxton-Hepburn Medical Center Foundation to support the efforts of the Winter Cancer Center. The boys’ hockey team also raised funds last year, directing their proceeds to the Wounded Warriors Program.

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