Emily Hirslund is going to spend Friday afternoon playing basketball.
That in itself is nothing unusual for the 17-year old. After all, she’s a member of the St. Ignatius Falcons senior girls basketball team. It’s what she does.
But on Friday she and her teammates are playing for a cause – flood relief.
Hirslund is heading to Minnesota Park, where the Falcons will put on a clinic, part of the Brandon vs. Evergreen event being staged to raise money for the Thunder Bay and Area Disaster Relief Fund.
“We kind of want to break the idea that kids are selfish, that we don’t do anything, that we don’t help out and we only care about ourselves,” she said on Wednesday, taking a quick interview break before practice.
“I think it’s a good idea also to try to get the rest of the community involved who can’t afford to make direct donation and maybe can’t get involved like they want to. So from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m. we’re going to the East End.”
The girls, who have pledged to raise $50 apiece to contribute to the DRF, plan to play a little ball and put on a clinic, passing on some of the skills they’ve learned said Hirslund’s teammate Maggie Murphy.
The Falcons guard thinks it’s a great cause, which is why she’s so willing to lend a helping hand.
“We want to show that we care about the community and we want to put ourselves out there and show that. Everyone has supported us and our team, and we want to give back to them for helping us,” the 17-year-old said.
“I’m a shooter, but we want to teach them some ball handling. We want to teach them some bump games. We just want to get all the people and all the kids involved in the community.”
Former journalist Brandon Walker, who now works at Lakehead University, organized the event, his way of helping the cause.
The Thunder Bay Disaster Relief Committee is trying to raise $5 million, which the province will triple through the Ontario Disaster Relief Assistance Program, to help flood and sewage back-up victims recover from the disaster inflicted on May 28 on portions of the city.
He called the Falcons’ participation – the boys team is taking part too – one more step along the road to reaching the fundraising goal.
“Just the fact these two St. Ignatius team are raising money for flood relief is amazing. If other schools contribute then we can raise more to help our neighbours recover from the flood.”
Hirslund said while she doesn’t personally know anyone affected by the disaster, her father is a firefighter and was on duty when floodwaters struck.
“A lot his friends were also affected by it,” she said. “I know some people now still can’t go in their basements. People that didn’t have insurance are still dealing with it.”
Falcons coach Matt Erdman said the idea to join the cause came from a player’s parent. It wasn’t hard to convince him to join forces and make it that much stronger an event.
“I figured it was a good cause, and the thing about our Catholic school system is a lot of those kids that were affected and are affected by it are at St. Jude, are at Pope John Paul or at St. Pat’s. It’s just a way for us to help out.
“As it’s in Thunder Bay, and being such a small community, I think it’s appropriate for us to be doing everything we can to give back to our community.”
Brandon vs. Evergreen is slated to start at 4 p.m. on Friday and wind up at 9 p.m.
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