Ballin' to beat cancer
When the West Linn and Lake Oswego High School boys basketball teams face off Wednesday, Feb. 5, there will be more on the line than usual: more than league standings, more than state playoff rankings, even more than the usual WL-LO rivalry.
The Three Rivers League foes will play for two local kids battling cancer.
West Linn Police Officer Catlin Blyth and his nonprofit, the LtP Foundation, organized the game to benefit Ellie Shorter and Brock McNown.
16-year-old Shorter, of Canby, was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma in September and has been undergoing biweekly chemo treatments at Doernbecher's Children's Hospital ever since. Hodgkin's lymphoma is a form of blood cancer that originates in a type of white blood cell called lymphocytes.
Blyth said originally the funds raised at the game, (he specifically chose WLHS vs. LOHS because he grew up in Lake Oswego and now works in West Linn) were supposed to go toward the LtP Foundation, but once he heard Shorter's story from WLHS coach Eric Viuhkola, he knew a portion should go to her.
The foundation decided that 80% of funds raised from the game would go to Shorter and McNown's families and the rest would go to other LtP programs that give kids battling cancer opportunities like parties at Bullwinkle's, indoor skydiving or tickets to Blazers game.
Just last week, Blyth heard about McNown from LOHS coach Marhall Cho, and knew that he deserved to benefit from the game as well.
Shorter's mom, Jennifer, said the 16-year-old and Canby High School soccer team captain has improved considerably to overcome many challenges since her devastating diagnosis.
"We're going to present them with the check to help their families out with financial stuff so they can just focus on worrying about the kid," Blyth said. "Overall the goal is to bring awareness to these kids' battles that they're way too young to have to go through."
Because he learned about McNown so recently, Blyth said they had only had the opportunity to make shirts for Shorter, though the proceeds will go to both of them.
The shirts, which come in West Linn green, Lake Oswego navy and Shorter's favorite color, purple, proudly read "Ellie's Army."
Though the window to purchase shirts has already closed, to allow time for them to be delivered before the Feb. 5 game, Blyth said donations can still be made at https://bit.ly/2NnFkBp.
In addition to the funds from shirts, donations can be made at the game and beforehand (at the same link for buying shirts).
They've also already received $5,000 from West Linn businesses Icon Construction and Lil Cooperstown Bar and Grill.
"It means absolutely everything to us," Jennifer Shorter said of the support from the LtP foundation and their community. "The support and everybody coming together and supporting our family and being there and caring and they continue to keep being there."
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