Ottawa West celebrates emotional Purple Power night by winning and raising $15,000
It was an emotional win for West Ottawa on Friday night as they raised over $15,000 for cancer awareness and defeated Grand Haven in a 3-1 game.
The Panthers took to the field with authority because they would play for family and friends who have battled cancer or are still battling cancer.
Anna Krupka, a senior on the team, was particularly motivated because she was playing for a fourth-year student, Emmie. Emmie is a Waukazoo Elementary student who has been battling brain cancer for several years.
Krupka’s emotions were running high all night, as she was thrilled to portray Emmie and raise awareness for cancer.
“Some of my teammates played for loved ones they lost and others who are still battling cancer,” Krupka said. “I play for Emmie, I didn’t know her before, but it’s been really fun getting to know her and the joy she brings…it’s a joy to play for her.”
Emmie has been on the team for years and can even be considered an honorary member. The Panthers embraced her and supported her in her fight against cancer.
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“Emmie’s had a long battle with cancer, and she’s a real fighter, and it’s really great to see her clap my hands as I walk off the court,” Krupka said.
One of the team’s most prominent supporters, Emmie, gives the Panthers some final words before Friday’s game.
“Emmie told us we had to work hard, fight for every ball and have fun,” Krupka said.
Never forgetting the real reason they participate in the Purple Power Game, the Panthers look forward to this special game every year, and Krupka soaks up every minute of the game.
“That’s what this game is for, we can look in the stands and see the people we like, and we can look at our teammates and see who we like,” Krupka said. “I remember in freshman year I watched that game and I thought it was so cool to see all the players and who they were playing for, and now I’m here, and it’s a bit surrealist.”
It’s more than just a game, it’s a community that comes together to support loved ones lost to cancer and those who are still battling. The Panthers were thrilled to have such a large following.
“It’s really cool how a community can come together and raise $15,000, which is a lot of money…I’m speechless,” Krupka said.
The Panthers are dedicated to raising cancer awareness and devote a great deal of time and thought to fundraising to support those battling cancer.
“So much has been invested in this, and I know they’re here because their hearts really love the cause, and it’s cool to see how much we can do when we all come together and we’re really passionate about something,” Krupka said.
Brenna Rohloff and Addison Scholten also contributed to the Panther’s performance, scoring a goal each in the second half.