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Annual AHOPE Fundraiser ‘A Huge Success’

The eighth annual AHOPE (African HIV Orphans: Project Embrace) Mystery Team vs. the Pulaski Varsity Boys’ Basketball team was an overwhelming success. Event coordinator, Ashleigh Wilson, said more than $1,600 was raised for the cause which benefits the AHOPE orphanage in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

According to Wilson, many people had a part in making the fundraiser a success.

Members of the Mystery Team (Pulaski faculty and staff) and the varsity boys’ basketball team faced off in a fundraiser game that benefited AHOPE.
Members of the Mystery Team (Pulaski faculty and staff) and the varsity boys’ basketball team faced off in a fundraiser game that benefited AHOPE.

“We are very thankful for the involvement of so many,” she said. “The money that was raised helps pay for food, medicine, supplies, and school tuition for children living with HIV/AIDS in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.”

The fundraiser brought many individuals together to make the event successful including students, staff and community members.

The score was close for all four quarters of the game with the Mystery Team trying to hold onto its unbeaten record. The varsity boys’ team gave them a tough run, but in the end, the Mystery Team was able to hold onto its winning streak by defeating the boys’ varsity team 60-55.

The game was emceed by Jill Truax who provided colorful commentary throughout the game as she provided play-by-play coverage.

Pulaski Teacher’s Association volunteers Carl Nylen and Carolyn Blount served up cotton candy and sold Pulaski Blue Devils foam fingers to benefit the cause.

Ashleigh Wilson is pictured at the AHOPE fundraiser with her children, Zoey, Emma and Ezra Wilson-Hefti before the start of the basketball game which pitted the Mystery Team and the boys’ varsity basketball team. Proceeds from the game and other fundraiser sales at the event totaled more than $1,600 for AHOPE.
Ashleigh Wilson is pictured at the AHOPE fundraiser with her children, Zoey, Emma and Ezra Wilson-Hefti before the start of the basketball game which pitted the Mystery Team and the boys’ varsity basketball team. Proceeds from the game and other fundraiser sales at the event totaled more than $1,600 for AHOPE.

Kim Cowan worked the front door selling admission and 50/50 tickets and Joe Skotnicki and Kim Vrooman volunteered to run the concession stand during the event.

Dennis Truax manned the game clock while Randy Novak provided musical entertainment during breaks in the game.

A community service basket raffle by Kaeleigh Paternoster also raised additional funds as well as the sixth grade table that offered fingernail painting and handmade bracelets for sale.

Terry Kranz and Jake Robinson volunteered as game referees.

Katie Hefti, the winner of the 50/50 raffle, donated her winnings back to AHOPE.

Junior Ed Sheats made a $100 personal donation and the Pulaski Sports Booster Club donated $500.

The total collected so far is $1,687.

Originally founded to provide hospice for HIV positive children aged infant to 18, AHOPE’s focus of care and outreach changed dramatically with the arrival of antiretroviral medications in 2005; what was once considered a hospice program which anticipated death, AHOPE became a program of hope for a real future for every child.

Today, AHOPE is the only orphanage in Ethiopia that cares for HIV positive children.

“Pulaski Academy is making a global difference and that is really exciting,” Wilson said. “We are grateful to work with such awesome people at Pulaski and appreciate their continued support of this event more than words can say.”