During this pandemic, schools and administrators have been busy putting together and executing safety protocols just to play games.

Across NEPA, the great communities continue to do what they can to raise money for Coaches vs. Cancer.


Mid Valley players wearing Rally for Ryan T-Shirts.



HS BASKETBALL: Mid Valley raising money for Coaches vs. Cancer to help families in community.


Mike Abda has an appointment with a barber.

He will likely need a wool cap to keep his dome warm through the rest of the winter.

Mid Valley’s boys basketball coach pledged to shave his head if the community raised $1,000 through its Coaches vs. Cancer fundraising effort this year.

It didn’t take long to exceed that goal.

Through the motivation of the coach and the inspiration to support two members of the Spartans family who are battling the disease, others are going under the clippers, too, including assistant coaches and head girls basketball coach Denise Larson.

“It started with if we could raise $1,000, I was going to shave my head. Then a couple of my assistants said they would for every $250 after that. Then Denise said if we raised $4,000, she would shave her head. We are past $5,000.

“The community, as always, even in these tough times with the COVID-19, rallied.”

 MIKE ABDA | Mid Valley Coach





Tonight, 7:15 p.m.

Coaches vs. Cancer game


Mid Valley’s close knit basketball and school communities were rocked by cancer diagnoses in recent years.

Ryan Evans is a member of the boys basketball team, who is battling Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. Larissa Chmielewski, a former cheerleader, softball player, track athlete and 2017 graduate, is fighting Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.



“It all comes down to us being one big family. We are a tight community. We all know each other and have grown up with each other. We had a shirt a year or two ago that says “Family” and that is how I feel we all are here at Mid Valley. We are all so close and that means that we will always be there for each other.

“It’s tough to see anybody go through what Ryan is going through, but he has such a great mindset and attitude. He never took a step back and took it on headfirst. He is a true survivor.”

TYLER O’CONNOR | Mid Valley Captain




Ryan Evans received his diagnosis in the fall. He recently completed five rounds of chemotherapy at Geisinger in Danville and will soon begin outpatient therapy through July.

Days have been tough at times for Evans, but he battles cancer by getting plenty of rest, staying positive, focusing on schoolwork and binge-watching movies and television shows.

Watching livestreams of Spartans games energizes him.

Mostly, he’s is getting through his most difficult times with the support of his Mid Valley family.



“It was extremely challenging for me and my family. I got pretty sick at times over the last three months, but I am feeling a lot better now that I finished the chemotherapy and I am working toward getting back some normalcy to my life.”

“It’s just so humbling to see the great support my family and I have received,” Evans said. “It’s so amazing and makes things 10 times easier.”






The proceeds raised by donations for the head shaving and other efforts by the student council that include pledge for points and basket raffles will go to the families and the American Cancer Society. The student council will be selling pledge cards that will be entered into multiple raffles for gift cards, which is tentatively scheduled for March 5. Additional information and directions will be provided on the Fans of Mid Valley Basketball Facebook page.







Scranton Prep coach Andrew Kettel, who is the organizer of the annual fund raising effort across District 2, is still at the forefront.



IN THE PAINT: Kettel still finding ways to raise money for Coaches vs. Cancer


Normally around this time of year, the high school basketball world in Northeast Pennsylvania teams up in the fight against cancer.

Coaches vs. Cancer/Suits & Sneakers Week, which is in its 14th year under the leadership of coordinator Scranton Prep coach Andrew Kettel, is when communities come together with fundraisers for the American Cancer Society.

Usually, gymnasiums are packed, but this season because of the coronavirus pandemic the annual events have been canceled, forcing Kettel to shift his energy and find other ways to continue to help.

Teams can purchase T-shirts through Nino Cimino of the American Cancer Society. The public can purchase T-shirts at the webstore at stores.brucelli.com/2021suitsandsneakers/shop.

Kettel is wearing sneakers on the sidelines for every game this season and started an online fundraiser on Facebook in support of his efforts where people can donate at www.facebook.com/donate/699880470688533/.

The Coaches vs. Cancer initiative in Northeast Pennsylvania has raised nearly $3 million.

“We are very sensitive to the fact that COVID-19 has had a huge impact on jobs, the economy, health,” Kettel said. “Cancer hasn’t stopped and we need to try to give as much as we can for the American Cancer Society to continue to have the programs it provides locally like rides to doctor appointments and research.”