Small town of Pembroke still plans to make big impact with Shooting for a Cure despite pandemic

Genesee County

PEMBROKE, N.Y. (WIVB) — For 10 years, the Pembroke Girls Basketball Team has been “Shooting for a Cure.”

The game raises money for Roswell, and this Friday, the team hopes to pass a big number — the $200,000 mark. This year’s game may look different, but the end goal is still the same.

Ten years ago, varsity basketball player Breanna Johnson came up with the idea for “Shooting for a Cure.” She wanted to support a Pembroke coach’s wife who was battling breast cancer at the time.

All three of Breanna’s younger sisters have since played in the game, including Sydney, who’s now a junior on the team.

“I’m proud more than anything,” Sydney says. “I’m proud of my sisters.”

The annual game brings thousands to the Pembroke High School gym to see the girls take on a big school rival. But more importantly, the game raises money for Roswell and supports community members who are battling cancer, or who lost loved ones to it.

Emily Peters, a member of the team, says “I just can’t believe how much we can actually do being such a small community.”

A small community with a big heart. To date, Shooting for a Cure has raised more than $152,000.

Allie Schwerthoffer, another member of the team, says “It’s amazing when you walk out and all the eyes are on you, and you realize the level of impact, and your impact, and what helping people is all about.”

The impact on the community is huge, and the impact on these girls may be bigger. Breanna Johnson, the one who created this game, now works at Roswell herself. And many of her teammates over the years have learned something far beyond how to shoot a free throw.

“You see so many girls go into the medical field, or at least a goal in their life is to help,” Schwerthoffer says.

This year, the girls will continue their cause despite the many restrictions in place for high school sports. The team has taken to social media to sell raffle tickets and raise money.

Food trucks will be parked outside on Friday, an eight-foot pink ribbon is getting made to take photos in front of, and the game will be streamed online.

It’s a cause they won’t stop for anything, because cancer doesn’t stop for anything either.

Team member Serene Calderon says “The whole idea is that we’re raising money for cancer. Whether we played a basketball game or not, we still wanted to give some sort of anything to Roswell saying ‘We still support you and we still want to give to the cause.'”

For more information on how to support their cause, click or tap here.

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.

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