GM employee supported through volleyball 'Pink Out' tournament

Categories:  News    Opinions
Friday, October 18th, 2019 at 11:50 AM

One of the great things about our school community is its willingness to rise to the occasion when someone is in need. It happens over and over throughout the year. This week, GM teacher and parent, Gretchen Cunningham, provides us with the narrative of one such effort.

Many parents may have seen teachers and faculty wearing pink shirts and jeans on Thursday, Sept. 26. They may have heard their children say, “I have to wear pink to school tomorrow" If you read the T-shirts, you would have understood the purpose for wearing pink. One T-shirt said, “General McLane Volleyball Serving up a Cure,” and the other said, “Go Pink, Fight Cancer, Win the Fight.” Although you may have known the reason, you may not have known the details

The General McLane volleyball team has a “pink out” game each season and funds are raised to give to an individual who is fighting breast cancer. This year’s recipient is an employee at GM, Brianna Curtis. The General McLane volleyball team and its boosters chose to support Brianna to help curb her expenses while she bravely fights to be cancer free.

Who is Brianna Curtis? Brianna works as a counselor at McKean and Edinboro Elementary to address students’ emotional and behavioral concerns. She provides individual therapy, group therapy, and connects students to resources for higher levels of care. She is a 27-year-old, who is a highly-motivated individual in her work and the athletic world. She was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. She is currently undergoing treatment for 18 weeks before she will have a double mastectomy. She plans to continue to work for as long as possible in order to keep working with the General McLane students who are in need, and to keep her mind busy.

In our efforts to support Brianna, it soon became clear that our community is one which we should be proud to live in! Volleyball player parents, teachers, and many businesses donated or contributed to baskets for a basket auction. The businesses in our community continue to make donations that make a difference in our schools and for individuals. We want to thank these businesses for their contribution to the “pink out” game: Giant Eagle, Walmart, Argonne, Mary Kay (Nicole Chabola), Creative Memories (Dawn Costa), and Park Lane Jewelry.

Our teachers, staff and community members of the General McLane School District are amazing! They supported by purchasing T-shirts, money tree tickets and ribbons. They attended the game and sat alongside her. I am amazed at the heart of our community and happily live here.

The General McLane volleyball team raised $1,718. The players and coaches presented her with the check on Monday, Sept. 30. She was overwhelmed with the support the team gave her, but this support extended beyond our team and to the General McLane faculty and community. In a thank you letter that Brianna wrote to the team, and also to everyone who supported her in ways that she was unaware, she said:

“Thank you so much for your kindness, generosity, and support. It is because of you that I can fight breast cancer, while not having to worry about medical or living expenses. This will alleviate stress and allow me to focus on treatment! I wish I could express what this means to me, but there are no words! Thank you so much! All my love! Bri.”

The General McLane volleyball team beat the undefeated McDowell squad that night, and they are confident that Bri will fight and win her battle with breast cancer.

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