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Puma softball team benefits Circle of Hope

A team effort to ‘think pink’ raises funds to benefit Circle of Hope, Inc. and to raise awareness

Posted: January 17, 2009 10:09 p.m.
Updated: January 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.

Danette Amar, Sammy Whiteside, Ally Peksy, Sammy Judd, Jessica Smith and Ava Jensen.

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Jessica Smith, a member of the Puma softball team with John Nourse, her manager's support, helped raise nearly $1,500 for Circle of Hope, Inc., a 501(c)(3) Santa Clarita Valley nonprofit organization that financially assists breast cancer patients who live, work or get treated in the Santa Clarita Valley.

The Puma team wanted to support and honor Lisa Smith's courageous fight against breast cancer.

This is the second time she has fought the disease and the second time that Circle of Hope has come to rescue her family by paying for her high COBRA medical insurance premiums.

The Smith family had to travel more than two hours to get to where the games where held due to a recent fire in Sylmar blocking the normal route.

Once there, they sold lemonade, cookbooks and pink ribbon bracelets and received donations from other teams.

The girls from all the teams wore pink ribbons in their hair while the Pumas wore special pink shirts. Most important, they helped raise awareness of breast cancer to about 150 high school girls.

"I am a firm believer that our youth play an important role in how society perceives the sick and less fortunate," said Colleen Shaffer, founder of Circle of Hope.

A seven year survivor of metastatic breast cancer herself, Shaffer said she understands the emotional havoc medical bills can strain on a family.

"I'm impressed with this team who has heart, compassion and insight to support those who are fighting the disease and lend a hand to their caregivers," Shaffer said.

Not only has the Puma team assisted Lisa, but her daughter, Jessica, has been encouraged to support her mother.

"The head coach, Mike Monzo, encourages other teams and individuals to rally to the cause to embrace breast cancer patients, not to run away from them due to fear," said Shaffer.

"The Puma team especially should be proud of their contribution and awareness they bring to the public about breast cancer.

Their continuous compassion, assistance to help this family and breaking down the barriers that a family undergoes when faced with cancer should be applauded.

The Smith family and Puma softball team have shown that a little team effort can go a long way to ‘think pink.'"

Circle of Hope, Inc. hosts several fundraisers a year to raise funds to help breast cancer victims with COBRA insurance payments, funds to seek second opinions, medication expenses and other expenses related to breast cancer.

"Survivorship is expensive," Shaffer said. "You don't realize how much chemo costs, how much deductibles and co-payments and other expenses of surviving breast cancer can cost. It can ruin a family."

For information about Circle of Hope, Inc. or to donate visit www.circleofhopeinc.org or call (661) 254-5218.

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