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PHOTOS: Unite for Her Volleyball event wins support for cancer charity

Club organized volleyball tournament to raise money for the larger organization.
The+Strath+Haven+Freshman+Girls+Basketball+team+celebrates+after+a+point+during+the+Unite+for+Her+Volleyball+Tournament+on+January+12.+The+tournament%2C+led+by+Unite+for+Her+student+leaders%2C+raised+money+to+fund+the+treatment+and+therapy+of+people+diagnosed+with+breast+and+ovarian+cancers.
Annika Slootmaker ’26
The Strath Haven Freshman Girls Basketball team celebrates after a point during the Unite for Her Volleyball Tournament on January 12. The tournament, led by Unite for Her student leaders, raised money to fund the treatment and therapy of people diagnosed with breast and ovarian cancers.

On Friday, January 12, three Haven students hosted a high-energy volleyball fundraiser for Unite for Her, a local nonprofit benefiting women undergoing breast and ovarian cancer treatment.

The night was filled with volleyball, music, snacks, speeches, and friendly competition. Volunteers from Strath Haven High School, along with family members and school faculty, raised over $700 for the Unite For Her organization.

The event, held in the Strath Haven gym, was organized by Strath Haven juniors Zoe Likely, Emily Reilly, and senior Francesca Clark. Likely became aware of the cause through her mother’s close friend, who benefited from Unite’s efforts while undergoing cancer treatment.

“Our goal with this fundraiser was to help support anyone affected by breast or ovarian cancer, as well the families and friends of those receiving treatment,” Likely said. “At the same time, we wanted to raise awareness among the student population, because this is a universal danger that can happen to anyone.”

Despite not being volleyball players themselves, the trio felt that the sport was an accessible and inclusive way for attendees to show their support while having fun.

The tournament was made up of ten teams. One of the two faculty teams made it to the finals, but they were edged out by the student team, The Sixers. Each member of the winning team was awarded a Wawa gift card.

English Teacher Mr. Kevin Haney, the academic supervisor for the club has a personal connection to the cause.

“For me, the event was about paying homage to the people in my own family who have suffered from breast and ovarian cancer,” Haney said. “Also, by donating my time and playing on a team, I get to pretend that I am young again. But I learned the hard way that I’m getting older than I think.”

Haney’s faculty team made it to the semifinals.

The event also had two guest speakers from the community, science teacher Mrs. Sheryl Ursillo and Ms. Gail Gill.

Ursillo talked about her experience battling cancer, and she explained how the organization helped her and her family through the relentless challenges.

Gill shared how she was diagnosed with cancer at a young age, and she celebrated the increased awareness and education over the past several years, much as a result of the efforts of such organizations.

The founder of Unite for Her, Sue Weldon, started the effort in 2009 after her battle with breast cancer. She was frustrated by the lack of information on therapies that could better her life during medical treatment, such as counseling, nutrition, acupuncture, massage, and yoga. Based in West Chester, PA, Unite has since grown to provide services, support, and education to those affected by breast and ovarian cancers nationwide.

Likely and her partners are already planning for a follow-up fundraiser in the spring, which will be expanded to include face painting, on-site babysitters, food trucks, and live music.

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About the Contributor
Madalyn Posternack '26
Madalyn Posternack '26, Contributor
Madalyn is a sophmore at SHHS. This is her first year on staff and she wants to someday be a reporter for a news station. In her free time she likes to play field hockey, take her dogs on walks, and hang out with friends and family.
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