PEMBROKE, N.Y. (WIVB)– Ten years ago, a player came to then head coach of the Pembroke Girl’s Basketball team Mike Wilson with the idea of raising money for cancer.
She wanted to honor another coach’s wife who was battling breast cancer at the time. Wilson said yes without thinking twice.
“As a teacher and a coach, that doesn’t get any better. You’re trying to influence people in the right way to do the right things and here in Pembroke, we’re doing that.”
But to pull it off, he needed help. And the perfect person was already in his court, his father-in-law Bryan Wittman, a former Disney executive.
“I’m the guy who thinks of giant events with thousands of people raising millions of dollars,” Wittman said.
For about 30 years, the Hamburg native worked at the top of Disney, planning the opening of the park in Hong Kong, movie premieres, cruises, and more. A basketball game in Pembroke was on a much smaller scale, but he was willing to provide a playbook for success.
That first year, Shooting for a Cure raised 4,100 dollars. Since then, Wilson has stepped down from coaching, but he hasn’t stopped planning this game, saying there’s not a week in the year that goes by without him doing something for shooting for a cure.
That determination along with a small community with a big heart, plus a little Disney magic, has led to more than 152-thousand dollars raised for Roswell. They’re hoping to pass the 200-thousand dollar mark this year.
“If we can do this, anyone can do this.”
Kelsey Anderson is an award-winning anchor and reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 2018. See more of her work here.