By Carley Dangona
WEST SPRINGFIELD – First responders from the Fire and Police Departments will face off against teachers in a benefit event for the Soupy for Loopy Foundation Inc.
The 7th Annual Charity Basketball Game will take place on April 5 at 6 p.m. in the gym of the newly opened West Springfield High School, 425 Piper Road. Tickets will be available at the door and are a suggested donation of $7 for families or $5 for a single person.
“I hope everybody comes out to support the cause,” Eldon Wallen, detective and event organizer, said. “I had a family member, a nephew, touched by cancer. It’s a very difficult situation for families to go through.”
Soupy for Loopy was established in honor of Laura Sypek, who passed away in 2006, at age 11, from neuroblastoma, a rare cancer that afflicts children. Her father Mark is a captain for the West Side Police Department.
Each year, the Soupy for Loopy Foundation hosts an annual fundraising event in the fall and chooses a different recipient for its donation. In 2013, it donated $40,000 to the Children’s Oncology Group in support of a 14-gene signature neuroblastoma research initiative.
The 2014 recipient has yet to be determined, but the proceeds from the game will be part of the gift. To date, the foundation has raised $190,000.
“It’s very heartwarming that they take the time to go out there and play,” Sandra Kosko, president of the foundation and Sypek’s aunt, said. She noted that the event has raised nearly $12,700 to date.
She said, “It tends to be a very exciting game,” adding that spectators are on the edge of their seats towards the end.
Wallen explained that the departments host the fundraiser because they hope to help alleviate some of the stress families face when they have children afflicted with cancer.
“It’s a good cause, a fantastic thing they’re doing,” he said, referring to the foundation’s work.
A West Springfield Fire Department kids helmet will be given to the first 50 children younger than 12 and coupons for a free Friendly’s kids cone will be handed out to children younger than 12. During half time, a raffle will take place in addition to other surprise activities.
For more information, visit www.soupyforloopy.org
. To make a tax-deductible donation, make checks payable to Soupy for Loopy Foundation and mail to Soupy for Loopy Foundation, P.O. Box 474, West Springfield, MA 01090. For more information, contact Kosko at 636-1234 or firstname.lastname@example.org