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Eight teams will come together to Shoot for a Cure

Eight teams will be entered in the competition. Estevan will have its annual pink game against the Weyburn Comprehensive School Eagles on March 3, starting at 6 p.m.
The Estevan Comprehensive School Elecs senior girls basketball team is looking forward to the annual Shoot for a Cure tournament.

ESTEVAN — The Estevan Comprehensive School Elecs’ senior girls basketball team will host their 12th annual Victor Elias Memorial Shoot for a Cure pink tournament March 3 and 4, and this year they will be raising money for one of their peers.

Eight teams will be entered in the competition. Estevan will have its annual pink game against the Weyburn Comprehensive School Eagles on March 3, starting at 6 p.m. There will be a pre-game ceremony for Teigha Lesy and family, who will be this year’s tournament beneficiary.

Teams will be wearing pink during the game.

Elecs head coach Jessie Smoliak said Lesy is a Grade 11 student at ECS who has been diagnosed with primary mediastinal large B-cell lymphoma (PMBCL).

“It is a fast-growing, aggressive subtype of diffuse large B-cell lymphoma. It occurs in the thymus or in lymph nodes in the centre of the chest,” said Smoliak.

“The team chose Teigha so she can benefit from the proceeds to offset any expenses that she and her family may have [travel, meals, accommodations, etc.]. It hits home for my team as Teigha is their age fighting cancer. This is the least we could do to help her and make her feel supported. She needs to know she is not alone in this fight against cancer.”

The Elecs have already held some fundraisers, including a basketball camp at Westview School and at ECS in January for Grades 5-8. The players have visited a variety of businesses in the city, asking for cash and prize donations for the tournament.

They volunteered at the Estevan Early Years Family Resource Centre for a family Valentine’s Day party, and Smoliak said the Elecs received a generous donation to give to Lesy.

The team is working with the ECS student representative council this week to challenge the student body in a pink solo cup donation fundraiser, and they are raising money to shave a teacher’s head.

“The tournament admission, pink t-shirt sale, raffle table, and donations collected from the tournament will all be going to the Lesy family,” said Smoliak.

Smoliak noted the community is always so generous, regardless of the beneficiary.

“I’m amazed how our school and the community come together for an event to help those in need, from the generous donations to volunteering,” said Smoliak. “It is a good lesson for my girls to see how thinking of others can go a long way. Giving back is always a team lesson that I encourage – community and school with one another.”

In the past, some teams have provided donations. A couple of years ago, Yorkton Regional did a bottle drive and donated all of their proceeds to Shoot for a Cure. This year, Moose Jaw Vanier pre-ordered pink t-shirts that ECS is selling. Vanier athletes will be wearing them before their games to support Lesy. Weyburn will be part of the pre-game ceremony Friday night.  

“Every year the teams are so kind and supportive. I really appreciate their positivity,” said Smoliak.

Other teams at the tournament will be Yorkton Regional, North Battleford Comprehensive, Moose Jaw Peacock, Regina Winston Knoll and Moose Jaw Central. The final will be at 7:30 p.m. on March 4.

Smoliak noted the Elecs have a young team this year with 10 Grade 9s on the 14-player roster, but Smoliak and the coaches don’t treat them as a young team. They have goals and expectations for the players to reach.

“They are a very athletic, versatile, and energetic group of players who have a passion for the game. They are constantly encouraging and supporting one another on and off the court. We are proud coaches that we don’t have to enforce this during practice and games; it’s just the group of girls they truly are,” said Smoliak.

Since the McLeod Series was cancelled, the game with Weyburn will be the first meeting between the two teams this season.

“I think it is going to be a positive experience for both teams as the tournament fundraiser for Teigha makes it more than just about a game. I know Teigha’s courage and strength during her fight against cancer have been very inspiring to the girls. I know they are looking forward to supporting Teigha this week and after the tournament,” said Smoliak.