ST. JOSEPH — The Prairieview-Ogden community knows how to come together.
And last Wednesday night was no exception.
Corey Abernathy, who was an assistant coach with the seventh- and eighth-grade girls basketball team, has been diagnosed with Glioblastoma cancer.
Dave Lannert, the PVO seventh- and eighth-grade basketball coach, wanted to help and show Abernathy, his wife Stephanie, daughter Sydney and son Wesley, that the community was supporting them during their battle, and the community has responded.
“It’s just the way small towns react to specific situations,” Lannert said. “It doesn’t matter if you battle each other in sports, live in a different town or don’t know the parties involved, small towns come together at critical times, and the response and support is unbelievable.”
Lannert said when he found out Abernathy was sick and couldn’t coach with him again this year, he immediately thought of what could be done to help the family out. Lannert approached PVO Superintendent Vic White about a fundraiser, and White immediately said yes.
“As you know, the Prairieview-Ogden community has helped on many occasions when support is needed,” White said. “I am proud of this area and the community members.”
PVO played Armstrong-Potomac, which is Abernathy’s alma mater. He graduated from the school in 1999 and was a standout athlete in multiple sports.
White said Abernathy is a beloved coach at PVO.
“The players loved him as their coach,” he said.
The game took place at St. Joseph-Ogden High School.
The game had to be moved from PVO because of the community support for the fundraiser.
White said Armstrong-Potomac Superintendent Bill Mulvaney reached out to him and expressed concern that the gym at PVO wouldn’t be able to hold the crowd that he expected. So White reached out to St. Joseph-Ogden High School Superintendent Brian Brooks.
“Within an hour, we had moved the game from the PVO gym to the SJO gym,” White said.
During the game, the stands were covered in shirts that supported Abernathy.
Lannert reached out to Wagner Signs and Graphics and asked them to create a shirt with honoring Abernathy.
They agreed to donate 10 percent of all sales back to the family.
“My first thought was the T-shirts that have “Never give up” on one sleeve and his initials on the other, I got a hold of Wagner’s and they were awesome in coming up with a design and very kind in donating 10 percent back to Cory’s family of each shirt sold,” Lannert said.
Lannert also set up an online fundraiser and hoped to raise $2,500. It currently has raised $7,135.
A check was presented to Abernathy family members at the game.
“I thought a good time to present a check to the family would be at the PVO/Armstrong game, and why wouldn’t it be? We have both teams that Cory represented in the same building and his family and friends in attendance who are 100 percent behind him,” Lannert said.
There was also a 50/50 drawing and other activities to raise money for the Abernathy family.
White said he isn’t surprised at how the PVO community has responded to the fundraiser.
“Corey is well-liked in the community and well-liked as a PVO coach and parent,” he said. “He is a very positive person with a great personality.”
You can follow Abernathy’s journey on his CaringBridge site.
There will also be a BINGO fundraiser in January to benefit the Abernathy family.
Last week’s event raised almost $10,000.