Members of the Wyandotte Roosevelt football team gave the shirts off their backs Friday night in an effort to raise money for the fight against breast cancer.
Clad in commemorative pink jerseys, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, the Bears played on their home field against Southgate Anderson. Immediately after the game, the jerseys were sold in a silent auction with those in attendance bidding on the specific jersey they wanted.
The event was known as Pink Football and was sponsored by Jeremy Sladovnik, the owner of Joe’s Hamburgers and founder of the nonprofit organization Stars Shining Through.
Sladovnik said proceeds from the jersey sale will go to Yes Ma’am, Henry Ford Wyandotte Hospital’s program that provides free mammograms to working, uninsured women.
Having purchased all of the pink jerseys beforehand, Sladovnik offered everyone the opportunity to sponsor one. Sponsors were able to have the name of a loved one affected by breast cancer put on the jersey.
David Reno, owner of Winedotte Wines, sponsored a jersey with the name of his sister, Amy Martin. With an undisclosed bid, Reno later won the same jersey, which was the number 85, worn by Tyler Winters. Reno said the jersey will be a gift for his sister.
The owners of Janette and Annette Crossman and Kathleen Gunther, also won their sponsored jersey, bidding $100. It was the number 52, worn by Nathan Landry, and they said it would be given to their friend Carol Cosner.
Before the auction, and before the game, family and sponsors were allowed onto the field for about 20 minutes to meet with the players and take pictures.
Sladovnik said he met his goals Friday night, in terms of both bringing more attention to breast cancer and raising money.
“We really wanted to raise awareness for breast cancer,” Sladovnik said. “I believe tonight was a great success. I look forward to doing this again next year, with even greater success.”
As of Sunday night, Sladovnik did not have the final tally of funds raised or jerseys sold.
The Pink Football night at Roosevelt Stadium was part of Wyandotte’s Paint the Town Pink initiative, which is the effort of several downtown business owners who have come together under the name “Tatas Task Force”.
Seeing several business owners come together for this, and other charitable causes, inspired Sladovnik to get involved, he said.
Ultimately that involvement resulted in the founding of his nonprofit, Stars Shining Through. The organization, currently run solely by Sladovnik and his wife Jamie Maniccia, works on behalf of local charities and organizations throughout the area. Sladovnik said the organization helps raise money and set up fundraising events, such as Friday’s Pink Football, which was a combined effort with the Wyandotte football team.