About 50 high school and middle school students participated in the Titan Stick Fest Saturday at Ballenger Creek Park to help raise funds for a teammate with cancer.
Danielle Hankey, a sophomore at Tuscarora High School — who also plays field hockey, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma on March 8, according to a GoFundMe page for the student.
Ewing’s Sarcoma is a rare type of cancer that occurs in bones or soft tissue around the bones, according to Mayoclinic.org. It is most common in teenagers and young adults.
Stick Fest was a field hockey tournament originally organized to raise funds for the Tuscarora Titans Boosters, a club that supports the school’s athletic teams, according to Julie Lunn, coach of the Tuscarora High School field hockey team.
She said the Titan Stick Fest was already in the works to raise money for THS Boosters, but once they found out about Hankey, they decided to combine efforts and donate some of the funds to her and her family.
“We do fundraisers and then the money goes to each of our athletic teams for items that they need,” she said. “We are out here trying to support [Hankey] today as well.”
Hankey has to undergo chemotherapy treatment at Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, D.C., according to the GoFundMe page.
She receives chemotherapy treatment every other week, according to Wendy Hankey, Danielle’s mother. One week she receives chemo for two days, two weeks later she receives chemo for six days.
Hankey couldn’t attend Stick Fest as she was receiving chemo treatment during the event.
“It’s going well, but there’s been some rough times,” she said over the phone Saturday while at the hospital. “Overall it’s been OK.”
Hankey will receive 12 weeks of chemotherapy, then two weeks of radiation and then 16 more weeks of chemo, according to Wendy Hankey.
Danielle added that it’s “very nice” what her friends and teammates are doing in honor of her.
“It gives me a lot of encouragement and it makes me fell really good and happy,” she said.
Wendy Hankey added that her daughter has been earning straight A’s in school while going through chemo.
“The teachers have been great with getting her her work,” she said. “She completes it here at the hospital.”
Funds from the crowdfunding site and Stick Fest will go towards driving costs to and from Children’s National, parking, meals while at the hospital and time missed from work for Hankey’s parents.
As of Saturday afternoon, $8,552 was raised through Hankey’s GoFundMe page. About $200 was raised through Saturday’s field hockey tournament.
Six high school teams and about eight middle school teams from Tuscarora, Linganore and Oakdale High Schools participated in Saturday’s event, according to Lunn. Each team consisted of three players.
Funds were raised as each participant had to pay to play, Lunn said. Items were raffled off as well.
As for Hankey, Lunn described her as someone who is always positive.
“She’s just a nice kid to be around,” Lunn said. “She gets out on the field and comes out like a bolt of lightning. She plays her heart out and is overall just a sweet, nice kid so we really want to put our efforts behind her today.”
Marlee Myer, a freshman at Tuscarora High School, is friends with Hankey. The two met through playing field hockey together.
“She has such a bubbly personality,” Myer said. “She’s the nicest person. It makes me happy to see everyone supporting her and being there for her.”
To find out more about Hankey or to donate, go to https://www.gofundme.com/f/danielle-hankey.