Ferndale students triple fundraising goal for charity hockey game
Ferndale students raised more than $6,000 to fight LaFora's disease last winter. (Submitted photo)
With the help of their faculty advisor and high school business teacher Josh Mottillo, seniors Devin Murphy and Donny Blasko hosted a hockey game at the Cambria County War Memorial Feb. 4. The game attracted a crowd of approximately 800.
Their original goal was to raise $2,000.
What they raised was over $6,800, and the students presented a check to former classmate Jessica Ambroe’s father, George, during a May 20 assembly at the high school.
Seventeen-year-old Jessica suffers from the rare disease, which currently does not have a cure. Mottillo said, however, that donations such as theirs are funding important research.
“The donation is going to help them with research to find a cure,” Mottillo said. “Last I talked to George, he said they were really close to finding a cure.”
The hockey game was played between the Ferndale hockey team and the Westmont Laurel Mountain hockey team. Each team was comprised of approximately 20 players and all of them decided to wear purple and white, the colors chosen to represent the cause, as part of their uniforms.
Mottillo added that there was a 50-50 raffle and basket raffles at the game to help raise additional money. All proceeds went to Chelsea’s Hope.
Mottillo said that Murphy and Blasko showed initiative throughout the entire project.
“They both played hockey for the high school team, and they wanted to do something to raise money. We decided to do a special awareness night so they could promote it throughout the school and get a lot more people involved with it,” he said.
He said that he is especially proud of them for exceeding their goal.
“I could not be prouder of them. They are not overly talkative students and for them to put themselves out there ... between going around asking teachers to donate, going from business to business collecting donations ... they really didn’t know anything about what it would take to get donations and as soon as it started, things just started snowballing and it came together very fast,” he said.
Members of the 2012 Ferndale senior class have already showed interest in making the hockey game an annual event.
Mottillo said the Ambroe family appreciates the students’ efforts to help Jessica and others suffering from the degenerative form of epilepsy that forced Jessica out of Ferndale Area High School a few years ago.
“There’s so much support for the family and Jessica. The Ferndale community has really rallied around their cause,” Mottillo said.
In May, the Chelsea’s Hope car entry that was entered into the Toyota Racing’s Sponsafier Contest won the grand prize, giving the Ambroe family the opportunity to travel to the Charlotte Motor Speedway in North Carolina to help raise awareness for Lafora’s disease on a national level.