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Rollin' for Dough: Athletes on Wheels Face Off in Fundraiser
March 31, 2014
By Melody Burri, Messenger Post Media, posted Mar. 30, 2014 @ 5:18am
Canandaigua – It was an evening of thrills, chills and even some spills on the basketball court Friday night as Canandaigua National Bank and Trust Co. employees faced off in a benefit match against a squad of veteran hoopsters, the Rochester Wheels.
The adult wheelchair basketball team wasted no time in demonstrating their significant athletic abilities against CNB staffers, also in wheelchairs for the contest.
“Our team shows that just because you’re disabled – just because something’s different – you can still do anything,” said Rochester Wheels veteran JT Michalko before the game.
The 2003 Canandaigua Academy graduate is also a CNB employee, so to some degree his heart was tied to both sides of the court. Michalko, 29, runs the imaging department at CNB.
Pam Feicht, the bank’s event planner, said the competition reflected the tight-knit characteristic of the community, and of the CNB family. “We all have this love for JT Michalko, who works for us.” said Feicht.
“As a bank and as employees it’s a very familial environment, but it’s not that often that we get together outside of work to have fun. It’s a great opportunity for all of us to come together.” A number of CNB staff and even retirees came out for the event, as well as community members, Feicht said.
“This is more of a community event than we’ve done in any of the other fund-raising activities,” said Michalko. “We’ve got our Chamber of Commerce and different groups to help promote this, and it was promoted all over the county.”
All proceeds from Friday’s event – which included a bake sale and 50-50 raffle – will benefit the Rochester Wheels and SportsNet, an adaptive sports and inclusive recreation program of Rochester Rehabilitation. The agency serves more than 3,800 people in the greater Rochester area who are living with disabilities.
“The Rochester Wheels play all over in different cities, so they have travel expenses,” said Feicht. “This helps defray some of those costs for them, so we’re happy to do it.”
Michalko said his team of seven to nine athletes usually plays between 15 to 25 games each year throughout the Northeast.
Also participating at the game were Canandaigua varsity cheerleaders, along with Monroe Wheelchair, which donated the use of the chairs for CNB players, including delivery and pickup, Feicht said.