Students fundraise for friend living with Ewing Sarcoma

Waynesburg University students hosted a basketball fundraiser Sunday, Nov. 24 to benefit Canonsburg resident Mitch Barton and his family as he battles Ewing Sarcoma, a rare form of cancer.

The event was held at Canon-McMillan High School and featured pick-up basketball games, a bake sale and a 3v3 tournament, with proceeds funding treatment for Barton’s cancer. 

Ryan Piecknick, senior accounting major, assisted in the organization of the event with fellow Waynesburg University students as a project for a business class. 

Piecknick and his group members are currently enrolled in the Leadership and Stewardship class, where he and his classmates were challenged to brainstorm ideas to tackle an issue in the local community. 

After discussing ideas, the group members discovered a common connection between themselves and Barton.

The group members that knew Barton shared positive memories with him and wanted to assist both Barton and his family.

“It’s sad to see that something like this is happening to someone who has so much to live for, but might not get to see that far into the future,” Piecknick said.

Piecknick knew Barton through high school sports, and two of Piecknick’s group members had actually graduated alongside Barton.

“I was really moved by it and wanted to pursue it further for our actual project,” he said. 

Mike Trax, senior sports management major, has known Barton for years and enjoyed hosting an event to benefit his cause.

“I have known him most of my life, so I was glad to help him out,” Trax said.

Each group member had a specialty area they managed for the project, with Piecknick overseeing advertising and promotion. The collaboration of group members was key to the success of the event, said Piecknick.

“They really helped bring this project to life,” Piecknick said.

Piecknick said the advertising of the event was challenging due to a limited budget, but he remained motivated for Barton and Piecknick’s own relatives who have battled cancer.

For contributions to the event, Piecknick and his group focused on the local community, who are most directly impacted by Barton’s story.

“We have gone to local businesses and individuals, willing to donate anything that can help,” he said.

Shane Johnson, senior business management major, coordinated the fundraising for the basketball tournament and bake sale. 

“Our goal for the event is to make close to $1,000 to help benefit Barton and his family for cancer treatments,” he said.

During the event Sunday, the group raised $1,518 for Barton’s Ewing Sarcoma treatment.

The bake sale fundraiser featured items including small baked goods, drinks, wristbands and shirts. All participants in the tournament received a wristband to continue to spread the word of Barton’s story, and the winners of the basketball game earned free T-shirts for their victory. 

Working all semester to fundraise for the treatment of Barton’s cancer was very impactful to each of the group members, said Piecknick.

“Helping someone that is our age going through something this severe is very beneficial, because we can help a little bit with costs,” Piecknick said.

The event was a result of hard work among all group members as they worked to benefit a local community member in need. 

“Our group has a bunch of fun guys with big hearts,” Piecknick said. “It was great that we were able to help Barton in his battle with Ewing Sarcoma.”

After raising over $1,500 for Barton’s treatment and seeing great participation from the community, Trax deemed the event a success.

“It was very fulfilling for our group,” Trax said. “We were very happy that everything worked and we were able to have this event. It felt good that we were able to help out Barton.”