Blue Jays Basketball Event Raises $1,000 in the Fight Against Childhood Cancer

Photo courtesy of Caleb Maassen, ’25 IND

“To have raised $1,000 in such a quick time is no small feat. We are honored to have WestMO’s continued support in the fight against childhood cancer.” – Cassie Santhuff, Co-Founder and President of the Super Sam Foundation

“Victory in the fight” was the takeaway message of Blue Jays basketball last Saturday, Jan. 27, when the men’s and women’s teams both defeated their opponents while raising money for cancer research.

Those attending the women’s game at 1 p.m. and the men’s competition at 3 p.m. ― both against Blackburn College of Carlinville, Illinois ― crowded the Historic Gymnasium on the cold, rainy afternoon with one purpose in mind: to have fun while supporting an important cause.

Students eagerly paid $2 in admission, while the general public ages 12 and over paid $5, resulting in an impressive donation of $1,000 to the Super Sam Foundation, a non-profit organization based out of Fulton, Missouri, that fights childhood cancer on a national level.

The organization was founded nearly 10 years ago after the Santhuff family lost their 6-year-old son, Sam, to rhabdomyosarcoma.

During halftime of both games, fans, players, coaches, and officials held up personalized signs that listed the names of loved ones fighting the disease. The signs were provided by Westminster’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee.

Everyone in the stands and on the court then stood for a moment of silence in honor of those individuals.

Video courtesy of John Austin Mayton, ’24 IND

At halftime during the men’s game, Sam’s mother, Cassie, and local eighth-grader Zephy Schaefer gave a moving presentation about her brother, Ezra, who is fighting rhabdomyosarcoma. Schaefer is the daughter of Westminster College staff member Sara Schaefer, Administrative Coordinator for Academic Affairs.

Santhuff said she was impressed with Schaefer’s courage in speaking before the crowd and how the event unfolded throughout the afternoon.

“This event was so impressive,” she added. “To have raised $1,000 in such a quick time is no small feat. We are honored to have WestMO’s continued support in the fight against childhood cancer.”

Derek Zander, Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics, Athletics Advancement, and Strategic Programs, said the Blue Jays are committed to supporting the local community’s needs.

“I am impressed with our Student-Athlete Advisory Committee’s commitment to supporting the Super Sam Foundation and the local Fulton community. Westminster student-athletes have a desire to be successful in many facets across campus and in their lives, and this is one example where their service-minded focus truly shines,” Zander said. “Westminster is proud to partner with the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and its nine institutions to raise awareness against this disease.”

For the Blue Jays, this weekend’s games did more than raise money for cancer research. Morale soared as the women beat Blackburn 111-43, giving the team a five-game winning streak, while the men also defeated Blackburn, 72-69.

Be sure to continue following Blue Jays basketball as their season unfolds and to participate in another fundraiser for the Super Sam Foundation. Westminster’s Super Sam Games will take place at 3 p.m. on Feb. 15, 2024, when the women take on Lyon College of Batesville, Arkansas. The men’s game  versus the Lyon College Scots will take place immediately after the women’s game.

Zander adds, “We hope to have many members of the Callaway County community in attendance on February 15th, where we will once again raise funds to support the Super Sam Foundation and all the children and their families who are impacted by this disease.”

Coaches vs. Cancer games have been an initiative of the St. Louis Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SLIAC) in cooperation with the American Cancer Society since 2015. Nationwide, Coaches vs. Cancer has been an initiative of the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) since 1993.


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Sarah Rummel Backer

Sarah Rummel Backer is the Director of Media Relations and Senior Writer at Westminster College in Fulton, Missouri. A proud Westminster graduate, Sarah has more than 20 years of experience in marketing and strategic communications in the areas of higher education, medicine, agriculture, and the private business sector.