Burlington Township Field Hockey preparing for annual “Play4theCure” fundraiser

“It’s an event that has been going on between 8–10 years and we hope it continues to grow into the future.”

“Members of the Burlington Township Girls Field Hockey team during the 2016 Play4theCure activities.” Photo Credit to Mary Ellen Guzdek.

One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. October is dedicated to breast cancer awareness and trying to inform others about the serious disease.

The Burlington Township High School field hockey team and several of the players’ parents are preparing for the annual “Play4theCure” game, set to take place Oct. 11 against Pennsauken High School at Green Acres Park. The junior varsity game is scheduled to kick off at 4 p.m. with varsity scheduled for 6:30 p.m. The rain date is scheduled for Oct. 12.

The game, which is also the team’s senior night, is a fundraiser to help raise both awareness and money to fight breast cancer.

“Our donations for the last two years have been $3,312 for 2015, $4,510 for 2016,” Mary Ellen Guzdek said. “It has improved over the years, and we have continued to try and make it a better experience for everyone.”

Guzdek has been helping to organize the event for the last three years, and her daughter, Gabrielle, is a senior for the Lady Falcons. Other parents had taken on this responsibility before Guzdek, and others will continue the tradition after this year.

“All profits are donated to the National Foundation for Cancer Research,” Guzdek said. “It’s an event that has been going on between eight and 10 years, and we hope it continues to grow into the future.”

Leading up to the event, the team sells T-shirts, hair bows and pink pumpkins that are donated by Johnson’s Locust Hall Farm and decorated by team members. The school district holds a teacher dress down day, while concession stand receipts and donations made by the school also are included.

“The school district’s PRIDE committee donates up to $400 for the purchase of our concession stand items,” Guzdek said. “We have tweaked the event each year to help get more people to come out and be a part of it.”

An estimated 500 people attended the event last year, according to Guzdek, and the crowd could increase in 2017 with a JV game added to the day’s schedule. In 2016, there was a 50/50 ticket raffle added, and in 2017 there will be a new idea added to the plans.

“We’re adding a gift card tree this year in an attempt to change things up,” Guzdek said. “We even allow the members of the team to walk out onto the field with candles, in honor of a loved one they may have lost to breast cancer.”

Increased technology has helped the event become advertised by more than just word-of-mouth. Facebook, Twitter and many other social media outlets have allowed the members of the team to notify friends in other towns about the fundraiser.

“It’s just been an overall strong town bonding experience,” Guzdek said. “It’s an event that brings the community together, not just the school, and it’s for a good cause that at least has touched someone in the area.”

Checks and donations can also be sent to 89 Jennifer Lane, Burlington 08016.