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Ligonier basketball fundraiser features Steelers

| Thursday, Feb. 20, 2014, 1:00 p.m.

Perhaps it's not so much the village that raises the child, but rather the love embodied in that child that raises a community to unite for her benefit and well-being.

This is precisely what is taking place on March 25, as Team Kendyl, comprising 10 local residents, takes on the Pittsburgh Steelers in a basketball fundraiser. All monies raised will be placed in the Kendyl Reese Daugherty Trust, a fund ensuring that two-year old Kendyl Daugherty, who lost her mother in a car accident in October 2013, will have financial means to a higher education.

“We wanted to establish something for Kendyl. Her mother didn't have the opportunity to do that,” explained organizer and Fox's Pizza owner Tom Wynkoop. “We as a community have a responsibility to our kids.”

The event is being sponsored by Ligonier Valley Fire Companies and will take place at Ligonier Valley High School. Tickets are currently being sold at Fox's Pizza, Pamela's Golden Touch Salon, Carol and Dave's Roadhouse, the Ligonier Valley Chamber of Commerce, First Commonwealth Bank in Laughlintown, Forks Inn and Ligonier Outfitters. Only 600 tickets will be sold, 100 of which will be reserved at the door opening at 7 p.m. The purchase price is $20, and sales so far have been good.

Wynkoop approached the family of Kendyl's late mother, Ali Daugherty, and enlisted the help of Pam Anderson, owner of Pamela's Golden Touch Salon, where Ali had previously worked. The team set to task organizing and promoting the event-reaching out to businesses, friends, radio and news channels, local residents and, of course, the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“This will be a really nice night,” said Tom O'Malley manager of the Pittsburgh Steelers Footballers Basketball Team. “I was given a brief background on how this young girl passed away. I used to play at the Ligonier YMCA so I know the Ligonier area pretty well. It'll be a good time.”

As if having one of the most esteemed sports teams of all time in the house isn't enough, the entire evening, with game time beginning at 8 p.m., will be a medley of activity, including halftime autograph signings, raffle draws, a basket and gift certificate auction, music, games and news coverage. Refreshment contributions will be provided by Sheetz, Giant Eagle, Pepsi, Fox's Pizza and the Pie Shoppe. T-shirts and bracelets will be sold and game-night programs handed out.

“Everyone is really looking forward to it. Everyone who knows Ali really cared about her,” said friend and former co-worker Grace Yanits. “We want Kendyl to have a great of a life as Ali's.”

Though the event will be one of animation, amusement, alliance and athletics, it will also serve as a final commemoration and recognition of how loss once again evolves into love. It will provide those that care most for Kendyl and Ali the opportunity to do one last thing for a friend and mother, who passed too soon.

“Ali was very special, so bubbly, so funny. She was like a daughter,” said former employer Pam Anderson. “This will give all of her very best friends and close family something that they can do for her. This will be their closure, their goodbye.”

Tax-deductible sponsorship and advertising opportunities are being accepted through Feb. 27, and more information is available by phoning Wynkoop at 724-889-5223. For basket and merchandise donations, contact Pamela's Golden Touch at 724-238-5509. Financial contributions of any amount for Team Kendyl can be made at Somerset Trust Co.

Rebecca Ridinger is a contributing writer for Trib Total Media.