By Heather Graves
ASHWAUBENON – Tonight’s game between the 6-0 Ashwaubenon Jaguars and the 6-0 Bay Port Pirates is significant for obvious reasons – two undefeated teams vying for the top spot in the conference.
But for students at Ashwaubenon High School (AHS) the game is extra important as they come together as a school community to show their support for those impacted by cancer with Wear Pink Day.
“To show unity in educating and fighting against breast cancer, students at Ashwaubenon High School will be wearing pink throughout the school day, and carry that into the night at the football game against Bay Port,” said Valerie Hodgson, STINGCANCER advisor at AHS.
STINGCANCER was formed 16 years ago by now Ashwaubenon High School special education teacher Nick Nesvacil.
Nesvacil launched the STINGCANCER organization after beating cancer himself.
“When I was a freshman at St. Norbert College, I found out I had cancer,” Nesvacil said. “I was told to get my things in order as the cancer was terminal.”
It was a hard fought battle, but Nesvacil persevered.
“After years of surgeries, a stroke, a meningitis infection, occupation, speech and physical therapy, intensive chemotherapy, radiation and a number of other hurdles, I finally made it back to school and eventually was hired as a teacher at Preble High School – hence the Hornets, where we got the ‘sting’ from,” Nesvacil said.
The STINGCANCER organization has been going strong for 16 years and is now present in 35 schools.
“Our mottos are ‘No one fights alone,’ and ‘Together We Will STINGCANCER,’ Nesvacil said. “I am so proud of all staff and students involved with STINGCANCER teams in Northeast Wisconsin and beyond.”
The AHS STINGCANCER group has been active for 11 years and has around 50 members.
“We believe everyone deserves a fighting chance against cancer,” Hodgson said. “Ashwaubenon’s STINGCANCER goal is to raise money to help individuals and families in various ways whose lives have been effected by cancer.”
As part of the awareness event, STINGCANCER group members will decorate the football field in pink, hold a bake sale and host a Miracle Minute fundraising activity at halftime of the football game.
“This event is unique in the fact that it is completely student-driven,” Hodgson said. “We believe it is important to show how students and community members can come together to show support in fighting a disease that affects so many people’s lives.”
Hodgson said all proceeds raised stay local or help individuals and families.