Buckets For Brett

CHERRY CREEK – The Pine Valley Central School community came together in a big way over the weekend as the Pine Valley version of March Madness took place in the high school gymnasium. The players’ rosters for the “Buckets For Brett” games that began Sunday afternoon read like a veritable “Who’s Who” of Pine Valley basketball, with players coming back to play from as far back as the Class of 1975. Former players and coaches alike, from regional and state championship teams, took to the floor.

The event was organized by Terry Mansfield, who was inspired by an event held for Alice Moore in Fredonia a few years ago. When Brett Strible, a kindergarten student at PVCS, became ill, Mansfield remembered the “Alice’s Army” event, and used it to model this one.

“I sure didn’t do all this alone, ” Mansfield said. “The community as a whole got involved. Brielle Cortright contacted all the alumni players and organized that part of the event.”

There was face painting, a Chinese auction, a bake sale, a bounce house, concessions, a T-shirt sale, games for young children, and, as always in Pine Valley, basketball. Lots of basketball. All of this was an effort to show the community’s support for 5-year-old Brett, who was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia FLT-3, a very rare form of leukemia, on Dec. 11.

Brett is beginning his third round of chemotherapy at Roswell Park Cancer Institute, while he awaits his bone marrow transplant to be performed April 14.

“Brett is doing well, he’s good,” said his mother, Sandra Struble. “He’s finishing his chemotherapy, and will be home for 10 days while we await his transplant.”

The family just learned that a course of radiation may also be needed to battle the disease.

Struble’s form of leukemia is so rare that less than 15,000 adults are affected annually. Of those diagnosed, nearly 10,000 will succumb to the disease. In children the disease is even rarer, affecting 500 children and adolescents annually, with only 50 percent of those presenting with the FLT-3 variation of the disease. The survival rate for affected children is 20 per cent.

Sandy and Brett Struble Sr., and their daughters, Alex and Zoe, are experiencing an unthinkable journey as they all deal with the ravaging effects that serious illness inflicts upon a family.

“The support of our friends and neighbors has been overwhelming and amazing,” Sandy said.

Brett’s grandmother, Pat Wiseman added, “When I came in here today and saw all these people, I was speechless.”