AUSTIN (KXAN) — The dance team at Bowie High School will present a check to a brain cancer charity Friday evening during halftime of the final football game of the regular season.
The funds, totaling $3,300, came from the group’s homecoming mum sale, a major annual fundraiser for the team, the Silver Stars, that helps fund trips and other activities.
“It is hard to raise money,” said Darlene Case, co-president of the Stars’ booster club, “but it doesn’t matter when it’s something as important as this.”
One of Case’s goals as head of the booster club the last three years has been to encourage the 50-member team to give back. It was an easy decision for the board to make when Tawnya Savoy brought them the proposal to donate.
‘A way to move forward’
In the spring, the boosters were looking for someone to coordinate mum-making for the sale. The group was having trouble finding a new volunteer to take on the task, so they turned to Savoy, a veteran mum-maker.
She’s coordinated the effort the last two years, but her daughters no longer dance with the Silver Stars. Still, she agreed to contribute her talents.
“My sister passed in April of glioblastoma, which is an aggressive form of brain cancer,” Savoy said. “So I went to the board and proposed that I stay on for another year if they would consider giving a donation to Head for the Cure, which supports brain cancer research.”
Alona Stefek, who was 44 when she died, was on her high school’s dance team when she was younger, like her nieces. Savoy recruited her mom to help in making the mums, and it provided the family a new connection to Stefek.
“This has all given us a way to move forward,” Savoy said, “and a new purpose.”
Starting in July, Savoy and a team of volunteers started making the mums in her home, working right up until the night of Oct. 24 when they finished distributing the purchased decorations for the Oct. 25 homecoming game.
The designs incorporated gray this year, a nod to the official color for brain cancer awareness. Senior mums were completely silver and gray.
In all the group made and sold 354 mums, beating their goal and setting a new team record. The Silver Stars donated 30% of the proceeds to Head for the Cure.
Incidence of brain cancer
The National Cancer Institute estimates nearly 24,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with a brain or nervous system tumor this year, and nearly 18,000 will die from one.
About a third of Americans will survive past five years after diagnosis, the agency reports.
“And actually,” Savoy said, “in doing this project, came to find out that there’s actually three other families in Silver Stars who’ve lost family members to brain cancer.”
In addition, the team made a presentation board featuring a mum and information on brain cancer that they’ll show during the donation ceremony. Team members included the names of loved one impacted by all types of cancer on the display.
The girls also plan to take part in Austin’s Head for the Cure 5K coming up in March.
The project has helped connect the team to the impacts they can have on the fight against cancer, and it’s helped Savoy stay connected to her sister.
“She was very vibrant, and full of joy, and a lot of fun,” she said. “Just like the mums that we made. They bring a lot of joy to a lot of people as well.”