Competing schools join forces to Sting Cancer

Basketball was the main event but the fight against cancer was the main attraction.
Published: Jan. 10, 2023 at 10:21 PM CST
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GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) - The fight against cancer can be a lonely journey, but one group in Northeast Wisconsin wants to help. StingCancer is a group of high school and middle school students and staff looking to make a difference in survivors’ lives.

Tuesday night, a benefit was held during the girls basketball game at Green Bay Preble High School, where StingCancer originated as a support group for students and others coping with cancer in their families.

Basketball was the main event with Preble hosting Bay Port in a Fox River Classic Conference matchup, but it wasn’t the main attraction. The fight against cancer was.

The players wrote who they were playing for. A raffle was held, with all proceeds going to cancer research and charities. And it was headlined by a Green Bay teacher, Emily Van Nuland, who is a leukemia survivor and an inspiration to many of the children she teaches at Red Smith School.

“When I was sick, Red Smith, my school, had a StingCancer group. They donated to me. They wrote me cards. They sent me well wishes. They were just super, super important to me. So, when I got back to teaching after a year off, I just decided to become one of the advisors of StingCancer, and I’ve just kept doing that ever since, for 11 years now. Preble has an amazing StingCancer group. We like to collaborate with them as much as we can. The turnout tonight is amazing!”

But Van Nuland isn’t the only one who dealt with cancer. Her students do, too.

Jasmin Vue, a 7th grader at Red Smith, remembered when doctors “noticed that there was something way off about me, something they haven’t seen before. So I went through continuous testing, blood work, and honestly shut down my entire body. So hearing Ms. Van Nuland’s story and hearing that she went through all of it, it makes me feel not alone.”

So did Preble physical education teacher Kendra Rivera, who had tow members of her family suffer from the disease, and now she gives back as the lead StingCancer advisor at her school.

“Cancer is everywhere. Everyone knows somebody that has been diagnosed or touched with cancer, so it just makes it all the more special that you can be part of a community that gives back, and truly sheds light on something that is so terrible,” Rivera said.

StingCancer has spread to 29 schools in Northeast Wisconsin.

Members want to raise awareness that cancer can touch any family and it’s best to learn how to be engaged early.

“The StingCancer groups are a great way to get involved. Also, Be The Match is always looking for people to join the registry -- 18 to 40 is the age group that we’re looking for. And, even if people can’t join for whatever reason -- they might be too old, too young, they might have a certain condition that doesn’t allow them to join -- we can always use donations.”