ESTELLINE, S.D. (KELO) — This past Sunday, we introduced you to Kadyn Gehrels, a Rutland senior who came down with an illness and ended up in the hospital for over a week.
The night Kadyn got sick and couldn’t play basketball, his team, Oldham-Ramona/Rutland was taking on Estelline/Hendricks. Once the opposing boys basketball team heard the news about Kadyn, they quickly put together a fundraiser that raised over $11,000.
Rallying around a Raider: That’s what many people and communities are doing to show their support for Kadyn, who was found unresponsive by family due to an illness that landed him in the hospital.
The Estelline/Hendricks boys basketball team gathered on Sunday for a free throw fundraiser to raise money for Kadyn.
“All of us got together and we shot 100 free throws, and me and another kid shot the highest. I made 83. The other kid made 85,” senior Joe McAninch said.
For each free throw they made, there were sponsors that would pay a certain amount of money.
“It means a lot to me, because while basketball is a fun sport and it means a lot in the moment, it’s more than just that. The kid’s health is the most important thing, and we all just thought it would be a good thing to help out,” McAninch said.
Sophomore Wyat James had nine total sponsors donating for each shot he made.
“It’s bigger than basketball, and it means a lot to me because if something happened to me or my teammates, it would be amazing for other people and other schools to help us out just liked we helped him,” James said.
Sophomore Braxton Pravecek made the most free throws with 85 out of 100.
“It really means a lot to all of us knowing that this is kind of what we’d like other people to do for us if we were in this situation. I mean, it really means a lot knowing there’s a definitely a lot more to basketball, you know, health, making sure everybody else is Ok,” Pravecek said.
Head coach Andy Hansen is proud of his team and the community.
“It just says a lot about the community and just people in general. They really do want to help out, and again, all this is made possible just through all the donations that people made. Us as a basketball program, we just had a pretty small part in it really for doing it, but we’re glad that we were able to do something to help out him and his family,” Hansen.
The final amount they raised was just under $11,600.
“I didn’t do the counting. I just took it to the bank and I just told the lady, I said, ‘I’m guessing this is going to be around $6,000,” and she text me the amount and it was mind-blowing,” Hansen said.
It shows that even competitors on the court can put their differences aside and help a fellow peer in need.
“We really care about everybody else, and we don’t just care about basketball. I think it really says a lot about our character,” Pravecek said.
“I feel really good knowing that money is going to go to a good cause and help out someone who really needs it,” McAninch said.
Kadyn’s mom Kassy Olson says they are overwhelmed by all the support and don’t know how to thank everybody enough.
She also says Kadyn is back home and doing better. He will continue to have physical therapy to get all his strength back.