Oshkosh Titans Basketball team members presented a “Shoot It For Luke” Fundraiser check for $1050 to FVBTC at the April Support Group Meeting. In addition to the big check, one of the fathers gave us a second check for $250.
On Wednesday, Feb. 1, the UWO men’s basketball team held a “Shooting it for Luke” fundraising event at its home game against UW-Stevens Point.
If you’ve attended a University of Wisconsin Oshkosh men’s basketball game recently, you may have noticed a new face sitting on the bench with the team. He’s not a trainer, transfer student or the world’s youngest college basketball coach; he is Luke Peters, an eighth-grade student from St. Mary’s Catholic School in Neenah.
Luke was diagnosed with a brain tumor one week before his sixth birthday. He was at his friend’s house playing when he told his friend’s parents that he couldn’t see. Luke’s parents took him to the emergency room to have him checked out, his mother, Sue Peters, thought he may have had a concussion. Within hours Luke was flown to Children’s Hospital in Milwaukee where the doctors confirmed that he had a cancerous brain tumor. Two weeks later, Luke underwent surgery to have the tumor removed.
“No parent should hear that their child has a brain tumor. That day forever changed our lives,” Sue said.
While Luke was recovering, his family found support through the Fox Valley Brain Tumor Coalition and Children’s Oncology Services based in the Chicago area. The Peters family became active in both groups.
At a Children’s Oncology Services annual family camp, they learned about a nonprofit organization called the Friends of Jaclyn Foundation (FOJ), which works to improve the quality of life for children battling pediatric brain tumors and other childhood cancers. The foundation raises awareness through their Adopt-A-Child, Safe on the Sidelines and Guardian Angel programs. FOJ pairs children with cancer and their siblings with local high school and college sports teams, campus clubs and arts programs in their community.
Luke was adopted by the Titans men’s basketball team three years ago when he was in fifth grade. He has his own locker in UWO’s locker room, sits on the bench during many of the Titans home games and is in the locker room for pregame prep and halftime adjustments with head coach Pat Juckem and his squad.
“The adoption has been something special for Luke and something that Luke can call his own. It’s pretty special to have a whole team supporting and encouraging him,” Sue said.
The mutually beneficial relationship between Luke and the team is something for which many of the players are grateful. UWO sophomore point guard Kyle Beyak, from Mount Prospect, Illinois, has a true appreciation for Luke.
“It means a lot that our team has adopted Luke. He is a great kid and is very special to us, because we know how much he has been through in his life. His story is inspiring, and I am so glad to have the opportunity to have a good relationship with him,” Beyak said.