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Caz girls modified B-ball teams make free throws against cancer

The 28 players of the seventh- and eighth-grade girls modified basketball teams and their coaches Robert Axleson and Mark Evans display a check for $2,574.15, before signing it over to Tom Tedesco. The teams raised money for a mother of one of the players, Diane Tedesco, who has been battling cancer at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo.

The 28 players of the seventh- and eighth-grade girls modified basketball teams and their coaches Robert Axleson and Mark Evans display a check for $2,574.15, before signing it over to Tom Tedesco. The teams raised money for a mother of one of the players, Diane Tedesco, who has been battling cancer at the Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo. Nick Eshbaugh

Over the last few months, the seventh- and eighth-grade girls modified basketball teams have been fundraising for a teammate’s mother who has been battling cancer. Diane Tedesco has been in Roswell Park Cancer Institute in Buffalo since early October, which means she has been unable to attend any of her daughter, Danielle’s, basketball games.

All 28 girls from both teams recruited sponsors to raise money and each shot 100 free throws during a two-week span of practices for the fundraiser, “Free Throws vs. Cancer.” On Thursday, March 1, the modified teams’ coaches and players held a reception in the middle school cafeteria to give Diane’s husband, Tom Tedesco, a check for $2,574.15.

“The girls really stepped up and raised an incredible amount of money to help a teammate’s family. We are so proud of you as both basketball players and community-minded members,” said Mark Evans, coach of the eighth-grade girls team.

Evans and Robert Axleson, coach of the seventh-grade team, said they were very proud of the 28 girls, and that it was not only helpful for the Tedesco family but helped to teach the players empathy and build character.

Another point of pride for the coaches was the amount the teams were able to raise. Evans and Axleson said they were expecting somewhere between $500 and $1,000, especially in the short time they had to do the fundraising, which started in early January, but the girls were able to rise to the occasion.

The girls did all of the fundraising themselves, asking companies and citizens for money and raising funds at a multitude of events and athletic games.

“It was really fulfilling knowing that [the money] was going to a good cause,” said Katie Marshall, a member of the eighth-grade team. “Asking was the hardest part because you may be afraid of the response.”

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