Lewiston teen helps raise money for gun instructor and veteran battling cancer

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LEWISTON N.Y. (WIVB) – After getting the confidence boost she needed to learn how to shoot a gun, a local teen is aiming for her next target. She’s raising money for her instructor who has stage 4 skin cancer.

Hitting the target at the CF Club in Lewiston is a tradition in Rayn Coopers family. To aim for her full potential, and the bullseye, she needed a little push. That’s where her instructor Dale Shank came in.

“He helped me a lot to realize that even though I am a girl I can still do it just as well and maybe even better the boys,” Rayn said.

“Within a month or so she was shooting better than the boys who have been doing it for two years,” Dale said.

Then Cooper found out Dale was battling stage 4 melanoma. Looking at him, you’d never guess.

“I’m still battling, I’m still teaching and I’m not going to quit until I end,” he said.

Rayn says her instructor was such a huge help when she first started practice shooting and she wants to do something to help him.

“How can I do just something for him so that everybody can know what he did for me and what he’s been doing for everyone else,” Rayn said.

So she started selling bracelets, collecting money in jars that were placed at various businesses around Lewiston, and did a pie in the face fundraiser at her high school.

“I thought that would be a good idea because it’s helping other people as much as it’s helping him,” she said.

She raided close to $9,000. Dale’s a veteran and asked that the money be donated to the VA Hospital Willow Lodge and to Roswell.

“I think it was the fact that so many people know him and the fact that he was going through something, I think people wanted to help,” Rayn said.

Sarah Minkewicz is a reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2019. See more of her work here.

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