Utah Grizzlies raise money for cancer awareness

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Fans begin to file into the Maverick Center in West Valley for the Utah Grizzlies game versus the Kansas City Mavericks. (Kylee Lapeyrouse)

The Utah Grizzlies hosted a Grizzlies Fight Cancer event Feb. 15 and 16. The two-night event was dedicated to raising money for cancer research and giving back to local organizations that focus on cancer and illness.

The Grizzlies are donating a portion of ticket sales to cancer research while the organizations involved in the event purchased a bulk of discounted tickets to sell and give to the communities they serve.

Utah Grizzlies Community Relations Manager Jesse Sanchez said the Grizzlies put on the event for outreach, support and awareness. Sanchez said anything the team can do to give back and be a part of the community is a huge opportunity.

“With the meaning behind this one being cancer focused, it has a lot more sentimental value. Everyone is affected by cancer in some way or another, whether it’s a loved one, family friends or personally,” Sanchez said. “Cancer is everywhere around us and something that we can’t get away from. And I think that one truth behind it is that we’re in it together and we’re all trying to fight it.”

Some of the participating organizations included Camp Hobé, Camp Kostopulos and Camp Kesem at BYU. Both Camp Hobé and Camp Kesem host summer camps that serve children who have experiences with cancer, while Camp Kostopulos serves children and adults with disabilities.

Camp Hobé Executive Director Christina Beckwith said the camp staff members were excited to participate in the Grizzlies hockey event this weekend.

“We are thrilled that the Grizzlies organization made it possible to provide this family outing at a low cost to our organization,” Beckwith said. “The event will help raise funds to support our programs for kids with cancer and their families.”

Camp Hobé provides summer camps specifically for children who have cancer and siblings of children who have cancer.

“For every dollar raised for our organization, a childhood cancer patient or their sibling can enjoy ten minutes of fun at summer camp and that is priceless,” Beckwith said.

Fans spray paint the names of loved ones onto the ice following a game from the Grizzlies Fight Cancer event in 2018. (Utah Grizzlies)

After the game on Feb. 15, fans spray painted the name of anyone they’ve lost or inspires them on the ice for five dollars. The money collected from painting the ice was divided among the different charities involved. The Utah Grizzlies and Kansas City Mavericks skated on top of the names during their Feb. 16 game.

BYU student and Camp Kesem BYU co-director Michelle Mayer said she thought it was great that local sports teams want to be a part of something bigger.

“It’s awesome they not only want to make awareness of cancer but as well as different organizations that cancer effects and help support them,” Mayer said. “It’s awesome that they reached out to us specifically to be a part of tonight.”

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