by Rachel Holtzman
After four years of playing charity games, soliciting donations and spreading awareness about breast cancer treatment, the girls volleyball team, Coach Beverly Torok, Assistant Coach Sara Liptack and Freshman Coach Josh Haimann accepted the Teens for the Cure Award from the Susan G. Komen Foundation on Sept. 11, on behalf of the WHS volleyball program.
The team, which was the only student group given an award, was recognized for continually raising funds through the annual Pink Out charity game, according to Athletic Supervisor Ms. Sandra Mamary.
“We raised over $20,000 with our event last year,” said Liptack. “Keeping with the trend, [we] can only hope to top it.”
At the ceremony, the team was told that the money they have raised so far will pay for 400 mammograms for women who could not otherwise afford them, according to Torok.
Senior Co-Captain Kayla Rodrigues said, “The girls on all three volleyball teams go around to just about every store, restaurant and business in Westfield and surrounding towns to solicit for money and other types of donations [for Pink Out].”
Torok, a survivor herself, said she and several parents created the event while she was undergoing chemotherapy. “The kids had written me notes and really supported me throughout my treatment. I just wanted to pay it forward,” said Torok.
The players have all been inspired by Torok’s fight, according to both senior Co-Captain Elena Scarano and Liptack. Said Scarano, “In doing this event, we honor her as a coach and a fighter.”
Over the last several years, the team’s fight has grown to include the Westfield community, other teams at WHS and throughout North Jersey. Mamary said that the support of Westfield athletes and residents at Pink Out is what makes the night special. “Success is not just about winning,” she said. “It’s about efforts. Support, camaraderie, a community.”