Photo courtesy Panther Cheer Athletics
Through its cheerleading, tumbling, ninja and trampoline classes, Panther Cheer Athletics is renowned for advancing the fitness of some 300 local athletes.
But equally impressive is the character development that is embodied in the programs.
Panther Cheer co-founders Stephanie Kennedy and Dawn Silver have always promoted the importance of giving back, particularly in the community. So it’s not surprising that club athletes participate in a number of such events throughout the year.
Last weekend, athletes, family and friends joined forces to raise money through their participation in support of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society of Canada’s annual fundraiser Light the Night.
Held every fall to help raise funds and awareness for this and other blood cancers, the event is particularly close to the Panther Cheer family as both Silver and athlete Shaelyn Martin are leukemia survivors.
“We are so very proud of our families and friends who were able to raise an amazing $3,670,” said Kennedy. “We know there are many, many families in our program who have been affected by these diseases, so to be able to contribute and give to such a worthy cause is truly heart-warming.”
Every year, Panther Cheer organizes various philanthropic events to give their athletes, parents, families and friends of the club an opportunity to showcase their love and appreciation for their community, said Kennedy.
Up next, in November, two teams will work alongside the Richmond Food Bank and the FIRST church / shelter program in Vancouver.
These athletes will collect items and food for our local community, and gain valuable insight and experience volunteering at a shelter that provides a hot meal to those most vulnerable, Kennedy explained.
Panther Cheer will kick off the new year by hosting its first of what is hoped to be an annual Panther Pride 5K walk in January to raise money for RAPS, another society close to the hearts of Panther Cheer members.
“Many of our families have adopted their furry family members through this organization,” said Kennedy. “In addition, we will be hosting our annual blood drive, as Canadian Blood Banks are in constant need of donations.”
In February, the club will again host It Starts with a Heart, an annual event in which the youngest Panther Cheer athletes deliver hand-made Valentines cards to the elderly
Finally, Panther Cheer’s philanthropic efforts will conclude in April with its Garden Clean Up. Athletes will help out at the Steveston Community Garden.