Annual fundraiser during Frazee basketball games

By Robert Williams


Frazee-Vergas High School sophomore Sophia Strand’s annual fundraiser Hornets Hoops and Hope will be held on Tuesday, Jan. 3, during the basketball doubleheader with Breckenridge.

Contributed photo
The annual Hoops for Heart fundraiser will be held on Tuesday night in Frazee. The event was originally scheduled for December, but was postponed due to inclement weather.

All funds are donated to support the Stand by Me Foundation, a local charity that provides financial aid through grants to parents and guardians who need to leave their employment, which results in lost wages, to provide in-hospital support to their child during long hospital admissions due to chemotherapy or medical procedures related to cancer.

The Stand by Me Foundation was created by the Helmers family of Frazee in 2019 when their son Vincent was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

During the games there will be a silent auction, fun games like shoot for a buck, and pass the bucket. 

Strand started raising funds to fight cancer in first grade when her teacher Brandi Trapp was diagnosed with breast cancer a few days before school started.

In the decade since, Strand has created two separate fundraisers, including her Cupcakes for Cancer program each summer, and has made a huge impact on the lives of others with her philanthropy.

“In total, I’ve raised about $50,000,” she said.

After a year off due to all the construction around town this past summer, Cupcakes for Cancer will return in 2023 for its 10th year.

Strand has done much of the work going door-to-door and putting in the legwork to create a consistent manner to raise funds.

“I went knocking on business doors asking for donations and as the years went on and I became more of a familiar face, they started gaining a little bit of trust in what I was doing and started donating more,” she said.

Strand has used her marketing skills to get discounted cupcakes and cookies for the program from Central Market and she gets donations from community members for more, which is essential to the success of her free-will donation program. 

Each year, her Cupcake program typically raises between $5,000 and $6,000 in one day.

Cupcakes for Cancer’s success led Strand to take a similar program to the sports she’s involved in at Frazee-Vergas high school. She pitched the idea for Hornet Hoops and Hope to activities director Nick Courneya and started with the boys basketball team. 

Sophia was the team manager and incorporated a silent auction, a pass-the-bucket free-will donation, and other on-court events raising $1,200 the first year.

The next year the girls basketball team wanted to be a part of the program and the basketball programs have successfully raised funds the past three years totaling around $3,000 each winter.

The Hornets take on Breckenridge tonight beginning with C-team and junior varsity games at 4:15 p.m. The girls varsity plays at 6 p.m., and the boys varsity caps the night with a 7:30 p.m. tip-off.