Southern gymnastics participates in event for Unite For Her Foundation


Philip Zoppi – Sports Writer

The Southern gymnastics team participated in an event that helped support the Unite for Her Foundation in their meet in Philadelphia on Feb. 26.

The Unite for Her Foundation is a foundation that tries to support women suffering from breast cancer.

Abigail Bensley, a junior on the gymnastics team, had a lot of involvement with this meet because in high school her coach suffered from breast cancer. Bensley believes fundraisers like this are important for the team.

“Community service is a very big part of our team.  We all like to try and make a difference in the community,” said Bensley.

Bensley’s coach from high school that suffered from breast cancer, Sue Weldon, is  the founder and president of the Unite for Her Foundation. In 2004 Weldon was diagnosed with breast cancer, and in 2009 she formed the foundation to try and help other women suffering from breast cancer.

Bensley thinks that the Unite for Her Foundation is a positive organization, and is happy to see her old coach doing better healthwise.

“She was diagnosed with breast cancer while she was coaching me,” said Bensley. “Now she’s been cancer free for many years now, and she created this foundation to try and help women with breast cancer and families that are affected by it.”

A fundraiser like the one Southern competed in are small contributions that the Unite for Her Foundation uses for breast cancer research.

Southern competed against Temple, West Virginia, Penn State and Westchester in the Feb. 26  meet. Those four schools along with Southern, were able to collect roughly $15,000 dollars that will be donated to breast cancer research.

When a gymnast scored over a 9.0 during the meet, a dollar was donated to breast cancer research. Other ways the fundraiser raised money was raffling off items like t-shirts and posters.

Nicole Pruchnik, a senior on the gymnastics team, has had a lot of success during her Southern career. Even though Pruchnik has enjoyed herself competing in gymnastics, she said fundraisers like this one are the things that she will look back on and be the most proud of.

“I’m going to forget about the moments where I was competing and actually doing gymnastics. I’m going to remember the time I had with my teammates and the volunteer work we’ve done. I know I’m going to look back on these moments because those are the things that are more important,” said Pruchnik.

This kind of community work is nothing new for the gymnastics team. In 2013 and 2014 they were recognized as the department winner for the annual Tim Greer Insurance Agency, Inc. Community Service Cup.

This consistent presence in the community is something that is important for Pruchnik. Being a senior, Pruchnik wants to make sure that she is making an impact on the underclassmen, so that they can follow in her footsteps.

“I want them to be a senior class like us where there are people that are leaders and motivators,” said Pruchnik when referring to the freshmen on the team. “I want everyone to look back on our senior class and only have positive things to say about us.”

Both Bensley and Pruchnik are adamant that fundraisers like the Unite for Her Foundation are very important to the gymnastics team.  This is just one of the several instances where the gymnastics team gives back to the community.

Photo Credit: SCSU Athletic Communications 

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