Woman gives to cancer patients through basketball tournament
By EMMALEE C. TORISK
Even in the midst of her own cancer battle, Andrea Repasky’s thoughts turned to others.
She wanted to help those who weren’t as lucky as she — cancer patients who didn’t have health insurance to pay for their treatment or who didn’t have paid sick leave for the time they’d be forced to take off work.
So, while undergoing chemotherapy not long after her August 2011 breast-cancer diagnosis, Repasky began planning what would become Sink for Pink, a three-on-three basketball tournament in which all proceeds would go toward cancer patients.
Repasky, who played basketball while attending Campbell Memorial High School, figured that a $1,000 donation to the Joanie Abdu Comprehensive Breast Care Center would pay for mammograms for 10 women, and set that amount as her goal.
In 2012, the tournament’s first year, she raised almost $10,000.
In its second year? Almost $12,000.
For this year’s event, she won’t even attempt to predict the outcome.
This year’s Sink for Pink event will begin at 9 a.m. March 29 at Campbell Memorial High School, 280 Sixth St. Admission is $1 for adults and free for children. For more information, visit the “3rd Annual Sink for Pink” Facebook page.
The event is growing larger each year, and that has necessitated its move from the gymnasium at St. Joseph the Provider Church, to the one at Campbell Middle School, and finally to the Nicholas A. D’Amato Field House at CMHS.
“So many things have surprised me,” said Repasky, 37, who lives in Campbell. “I’m humbled, very overwhelmed and thankful for the support. There are so many people who care, and it’s nice to see.”
Proceeds from this year’s tournament will be donated to the Canfield-based Silver Lining Foundation, which helps cancer patients with everyday expenses. The donation will be made in memory of Wendy (Wilush) Jackson, who lost her battle with breast cancer in 2006 at age 32, leaving behind her husband, Don Jackson; and two young children, Janna and Jacob Jackson, now 12 and 10, respectively.
“It means a lot,” Don Jackson said. “I’m glad we can help out in any way we can.”
Repasky added that she doesn’t know anybody who hasn’t in some way been affected by cancer, and that she’s grateful to have so many “people who care” to help her organize the basketball tournament, along with the
accompanying auction, 50/50 raffle, concessions and free children’s activities.
Others, such as Danielle and Nick Galantis of Soup City Designs and Melina and Ron Lipinski of Team Source LLC, have made the event’s T-shirts for the past three years, selling them along with other cancer-related items to benefit the cause.
Businesses, too, have been generous in their donations, Repasky said, including General Motors Co. in Lordstown, where she works; and Astro Shapes in Struthers where her sister, Diana Repasky, works; and the Things Remembered warehouse in North Jackson, where her boyfriend, Tyrone Holland, is employed. Referees, along with members of the Campbell Police Department, have donated their services, and city administrators have donated goods to stock the concession stand.
Others who have helped with Sink for Pink include Nadine and Gary Bednarik; Gerald and Dina Hamilton; Repasky’s aunt, Liann Phillips; Repasky’s parents, Karen and Tom Repasky; Angela and David Rodriguez; and Annette Tovarnak.
“But it all started with a person with a huge heart,” Nick Galantis said, referring to Repasky. “Don’t let her be modest — it’s all her.”
Tovarnak added that Repasky’s successes with Sink for Pink illustrate the closeness of members of the Campbell community.
“Here we have a [CMHS graduate] who was going through something, and they wanted to support her,” Tovarnak said. “The message is that we’re a small city with a big heart.”