|October 20, 2011|
'This makes you a better person'
MSUB women's soccer team works on benefit for Make-A-Wish Foundation
By Dan Carter
They are adept at the drills. Fleet of foot, they float from spot to spot on the soccer field with the ease of butterflies. As students, they cope with homework and lab assignments like project management professionals.
As a group, the Montana State University Billings women’s soccer team has it down: school, practice, rest, homework, school, practice, tests, games, school, practice... and repeat.
Yet the sore legs, stress and tired brains will take a back seat next week when the team focuses on young kids who are literally fighting for their lives. They are children who have life-threatening medical conditions. For some, a fun game of soccer is out of the question.
Young dreams and wishes are as vivid as a warm fall day, however, which is the driving force behind a special fundraiser organized by the soccer team.
As part of its commitment to work on community service projects, members of the team are working with the Make-A-Wish Foundation to help raise money before and during the team’s game against Seattle Pacific University on Saturday, Oct. 29, at 1 p.m. The nonprofit organization will get $5 from each ticket sold that day as well as advance and game-day sales of blue Make-A-Wish stars that will be sold for $1 each.
The Make-A-Wish Game is the second annual partnership with the women’s soccer team and the organization and is resonating with the team’s four seniors.
“We talk about being good people as well as good players,” said goalkeeper Danielle Gordon, a Health and Human Performance major from Atkins, Iowa after a recent practice.
Gordon and fellow seniors Tyshae Davis, Kelly Minard and Amanda Brusic all noted that the team has enjoyed success as a team, but their community service work with the Billings Food Bank, local elementary schools and Eagle Mount means just as much.
“This makes you a better person all the way around,” chimed in Davis, a Health and Human Performance major from Idaho Falls, Idaho who plays midfield.
That attention to the human condition is impressive to the Make-A-Wish partners.
Heather Ohs, state manager for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Montana and located in Billings, said the passion and commitment of the MSU Billings student-athletes for the cause is commendable.
“I think this resonates with students because the kids in need are like them. They can see the similarities,” Ohs said. “And they can see the impact it has.”
The Make-A-Wish Foundation has been helping Montana youth between the ages of 2-1/2 and 18 with life-threatening conditions since 1987. In previous years the Montana chapter has completed about two dozen wishes a year, but Ohs said there is the potential to serve many others. Last year there were 28 wishes granted in Montana. Since 1987, 45 wishes have been granted to Yellowstone County youth and there are nine pending.
“Billings has the highest amount anywhere in the state,” Ohs said.
Parents, social workers, physicians and others contact the Make-A-Wish Foundation on behalf of kids who have life-threatening conditions. They also have dreams and wishes their families can’t always fulfill. Some of those wishes are simple — one youngster simply wanted a puppy — while others are a bit more complex — like a family trip to Disneyworld — and require major expenses.
The average expense for making a wish come true for eligible kids, Ohs said, is $3,900.
And that is where the soccer team comes in.
For the Make-A-Wish game, the seniors and their teammates will be sporting bright blue and selling blue stars to help raise money and awareness. People can buy the stars for $1 each from Krista Montague in the MSU Billings Department of Athletics. And for every $5 donated, the donor will be entered into a drawing for prizes. There will be a 50/50 drawing at the game and one of the local “wish kids” may be on hand to help sell the signature stars.
The project supports one of the core values of NCAA and MSU Billings to demonstrate the role intercollegiate athletics plays in the higher education mission and in enhancing the sense of community. The women’s soccer team has helped at various community organizations and this is the second year for the Make-A-Wish game.
Kari Foreman, the assistant women’s soccer coach who finished her MSU Billings career last year planning and promoting the inaugural MSU Billings Make-A-Wish game, said the effort serves a great purpose.
“I think it is such a great cause,” she said. “In fact, I see it as an event that forces us to think about how fortunate we are to have our good health and in many ways helps us to remember to take time to live the life we have been given.”
PHOTO ABOVE: Members of the MSU Billings women’s soccer team are partnering with the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Montana for a benefit to help children with life-threatening medical conditions. MSUB seniors who are taking a lead role in the event this year are, Danielle Gordon, (second from left), Kelly Minard, Tyshae Davis and Amanda Brusic. Heather Ohs, state director of the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Montana, is at left.