Big Rapids community supports local sports booster fighting prostate cancer

Monika and Ron Repke

BIG RAPIDS – Ron Repke has contributed in many ways to football, baseball and all sports on all levels, and has put countless hours to enhance the lives of area youngsters.

On Friday, the Big Rapids community showed its gratitude and support in Repke’s bid to completely overcome prostate cancer.

The Clear Lake Golf Club facility was filled with friends and supporters as a group from the community put on a spaghetti dinner fundraiser for Repke, who was recently diagnosed with prostate cancer.

Among the organizers was Tabitha Vennix, Andi Strickler and Kim Brejcha, plus others. Brejcha said it consisted mainly of a group from the community with Ferris, Rocket football, BRMS and BRHS sports boosters.

Vennis and Brejcha said the group wanted to do something before the Repke’s son, Aaron, went off to college where he’ll play baseball.

The women said the response was “overwhelming.”

Money also was raised Friday by other fundraisers. Brejcha said on Saturday the event raised more than $6,700.

“People have come and given money, and have been wonderful,” Brejcha said. “There were lots of volunteers,”

Monika, Repke’s wife, is a para-pro in the Big Rapids school system while Ron works at Ferris as an accountant.

“They’re a great family,” Vennix said. “I knew when Andi and her husband came up with the idea of ‘what can we do, to give back to them,’ it would be a great turnout. There’s a lot of familiar faces. From the baseball family we have with them, there’s a lot of familiar faces.”

Repke said, on Friday, he was overwhelmed with the response at the fundraiser.

“This is awesome,” he said. “When I came back and saw this on Facebook, it brought tears to my eyes. There were a lot of emotions. There’s a lot of good people in this community.”

Repke got the diagnosis in early July. Repke said he wasn’t feeling well and went in for testing. Surgery was scheduled.

“They took out the whole prostate plus seven lymph nodes that were around and six of the lymph nodes came back with no cancer, but one had a trace,” Repke said. “So they added another level of my treatment. But the prognosis is still really good.”

Repke, 57, has been a familiar face in youth and high school sports.

“I’ve been in Rocket football for 16 years and my wife is the president and I’m field director right now,” he said. “We worked with a lot of the (other) youth programs like wrestling and baseball.”

His son graduated from the football and baseball team but Ron Repke said he’ll still be around at the various events, taking photos and cheering on the Big Rapids teams.

“A lot of them are like my own kids,” he said.

 

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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