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Latrobe volleyball team hosting fundraiser for former player

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By Ed Phillipps
Tuesday, Oct. 1, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Latrobe girls volleyball team is hosting a benefit for a former player battling cancer during their nonsection match at 6 p.m. Monday against Greensburg Central Catholic.

The Dig 4 Hailey event will include a bake sale, Chinese auction, 50/50 raffle, and T-shirt sales. All proceeds benefit Hailey Van Der Weele and her family, who will be presented with the donations between the second and third matches.

Among the auction items will be golf balls signed by Latrobe native Arnold Palmer.

Van Der Weele, 14, has been diagnosed with Ewing sarcoma, a cancerous tumor that forms in a bone or soft tissue, usually in children or young adults. According to the National Cancer Institute, there are roughly 10 cases per every million children between the ages of 10 and 19. She played for the Wildcats last season, but has been attending cyber school as she balances school work and treatment at Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh.

The Van Der Weeles were in the process of moving to Ohio due to father Michael's career relocation when Hailey started to become noticeably fatigued. That was odd for a girl who was a member of the school ski club and an avid deer hunter, as well as a volleyball player. After several rounds of doctor visits, she was diagnosed with the rare form of cancer.

As her family balances life between Ohio and Western Pennsylvania, the local community has joined together to provide support. In addition to the benefit match, there is also a blood drive scheduled for Nov. 6 at Seton Hill University. Other planned events include a haunted house fundraiser, an event at Latrobe Skating Center, and a cash bash and dinner hosted by the Latrobe Rotary.

For more information and updates, visit and, after creating an account, search for Hope4Hailey14.

— Ed Phillipps

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