Raiders rally: Girls’ hockey team raises over $1,000 to fight breast cancerHudson girls’ hockey skater Alex Willi learned about breast cancer early in her life. Julie Murphy, the mother of her closest childhood friend, was first diagnosed with the disease when Alex and her friend, Becca, were very young.
Hudson girls’ hockey skater Alex Willi learned about breast cancer early in her life. Julie Murphy, the mother of her closest childhood friend, was first diagnosed with the disease when Alex and her friend, Becca, were very young. The two families lived in a very close-knit neighborhood in Mauston, a small city about an hour northwest of Madison.
Willi still remembers how valiantly Julie fought the disease while trying to keep life as normal as possible for her four young daughters and her husband, Tom, and the impact Julie’s battle had on the family’s daily life. She also remembers how her neighbors and the community rallied around the Murphy family as Julie beat the disease not once, but twice.
The Willi family moved to Hudson in 2001, but Alex and Becca have maintained a very close friendship, as have the two families. In the past couple of years, Alex had noted all of the fundraising events for breast cancer both locally and at sporting events at the collegiate and professional level. She decided this past autumn to organize an event involving the Hudson girls’ varsity team to help raise funds in honor of the Murphy family and all those who have battled this disease.
Willi, who is one of the team captains, cleared the event with her coaches and the high school and the fundraiser was held last Thursday, Jan. 5, at Gornick Arena.
An estimated crowd of 400 hockey fans filled the stands to watch the Hudson Raiders take on their rival, the St. Croix Valley Fusion, and to be a part of the evening’s events. Many of the spectators were wearing pink and everyone in attendance was given pink beads to wear during the evening.
The Raiders skated onto the ice for warm-ups in their bright pink jerseys, which were specially created for the event, pink socks and with pink tape on their sticks.
Just prior to team introductions, Hudson Hockey Association mom and breast cancer survivor, Diane Cristan, presided over a ceremonial puck drop between Willi and Fusion skater, Kelsey Kuesel. During the game, Kim Poppe, Relay For Life of Hudson event chair, and Kellie Burrows, from the American Cancer Society thanked those in attendance for their support of breast cancer victims and survivors.
Volunteers from Hudson High School’s National Honor Society and Willi’s sister, Madee, collected funds for the traditional chuck-a-puck event and other fundraising events throughout the evening.
In addition to witnessing a thrilling overtime game, those in attendance made donations to date totaling $1,044. The funds were donated by the Raider varsity girls’ team to the American Cancer Society and Relay For Life of Hudson.
“What an awesome sight to see all the pink jerseys on the ice and all the pink in the stands,” Burrows said. “On behalf of the Relay For Life of Hudson and myself, a breast cancer survivor, we are so appreciative of the support from the Hudson Raiders girls’ hockey team and their fans!”
Willi said the Raider girls extended their thanks to all of the volunteers and to the Hudson hockey parents, students and fans, and the Fusion fans, who helped make the evening such a huge success.