‘Cram the Stands’ basketball fundraiser for childhood cancer

‘Cram the Stands’ basketball fundraiser for childhood cancer



With the high school state basketball tournaments this month, it was a good night a few weeks ago to cram the stands for a good cause at Sunset High.

The Apollo girls packed the house on Tuesday and the barn was bumping again under the Friday night gym lights for the boys as the school held their annual fundraiser for pediatric cancer.

Sunset High senior Peyton Kennedy said, “It’s really just something we build upon every year.”

Donations collected by Sunset A.S.B. during the two games go directly to Doernbecher Children’s Hospital.

“We had our first game on Tuesday and there was a huge crowd,” said Katelyn Haslebacher, also a senior. “We haven’t seen that crowd at a girls’ game in years!”

The 17th annual ‘Cram the Stands’ saluted ‘Big Ben’ – 9-year-old Benjamin Wilkinson was the big man on campus.

“It’s so special, it takes a whole village to put something like this on, it’s not just us, it’s our whole class, the whole leadership program, the whole student body helps by wearing their shirts in supporting which is why we’re able to raise so much money for Doernbecher,” Katelyn said.

Peyton said the fundraiser is a special night for everyone: “The players, the fans, really just the whole community,” Peyton said. “It’s super touching for everyone, it creates lifelong memories for everyone who works on the event and of course our ambassador.”

A third grader at Valley Catholic, Benjamin is currently undergoing his second round of chemotherapy with eight treatments this month for a malignant tumor that was found on his left femur after the little leaguer tripped and was injured during a game last summer.

Benjamin’s mother, Eleanor Wilkinson, said, “Busiest week we’ve had in six months, other than being in a hospital for chemo.” Eleanor, along with Ben’s sister and dad, received the royal treatment in the purple palace.

“Obviously for us, the biggest is just raising awareness for childhood cancer, it needs more attention,” Eleanor said.

Benjamin helped in designing the ‘Cram the Stands’ tee shirts in collaboration with Nike. “He got to work with Nike, we got to go over to Nike with the Sunset crew for a design session,” Eleanor said. “He’s been on Zoom calls with the Sheryl Swoopes, so it’s been an incredible experience for him.”

Katelyn said the shirt is inspired by Captain Underpants and the Dodgers: “Those are some of his favorite things,” Katelyn said. “I think everyone sees Benjamin’s personality in it so it’s pretty special.”

A special night to cap a special week for a special kid from a special family in a special community. Eleanor said the teens she sees now are going to be the leaders of tomorrow.

“They care about what’s going on in this world and they care about things like cancer and they want to make a difference,” Eleanor said.

While $35,000 has already been raised, you can still help by visiting cramthestands.org..


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