The Oswego Hockey Club hosted a “Pink in the Rink” fundraiser for Valancee Avalos on Nov. 16 at Canlan Ice Sports. The event included an honorary puck drop, 50/50 raffle, and presentation of a jersey, as well as a matchup between Oswego JV and Chicago South Meteors JV.
The Oswego Hockey Club raised $1,500 prior to the event and collected $470 during the game, bringing the fundraiser total to $1,970.
Junior Jake Wintermute, a member of the Oswego Hockey Club, explained that the team was planning on hosting a cancer fundraiser at the start of the season, but couldn’t pass up the opportunity to honor a family in the Oswego community.
“Once we learned about Ms. Avalos’s situation, we thought that it was best to give the money to a local family,” Wintermute said.
Valancee Avalos has endured an extensive battle with cancer. She was initially diagnosed with stage two breast cancer in August 2018 and was treated with chemotherapy and a mastectomy. Unfortunately, in August of 2019, she was told that the cancer had spread to her lungs, liver, bones, and brain. Valancee Avalos is currently fighting stage four cancer, her son Aiden Avalos, a senior, shared.
“Pink in the Rink” was meant to give support to the family in a time of need, and it did just that.
“The event made my mom and I feel welcomed, […] like everyone was there for us and cared,” Avalos said.
The Oswego Hockey Club wanted to take this opportunity to make hockey more than a game, but a way to honor Valancee Avalos.
“It’s beyond our own goals, what we are doing. We were happy to support her,” Wintermute said.
Even those outside of the hockey team and the Avalos family felt the power behind the event.
“I think the impact on Aiden and his mom is just knowing that they aren’t alone and that there are always people working to help them,” family friend Matt Mathew, a senior, said.
The Oswego community has continually come together to support Valancee Avalos in her fight against cancer, honoring her with a senior night tribute during football season.
“I think it’s amazing, just the way that they have the whole Oswego family behind their back,” Mathew said.
Even through all this hardship, Aiden Avalos is staying positive as he supports his mom.
“Honestly, it’s been really hard, but I wouldn’t change what I’ve been through for anything because it has taught me a lot about myself,” Avalos said.
To donate to Valancee Avalos, please visit GoFundMe.