Toyota of Scranton

Dealership Engages Area High Schools in Support of Coaches vs. Cancer
by Dan Miller
Sept/Oct 2016
Toyota of Scranton
Star Turn
Andrew Boberick and a 2016 Corolla LE donated by Toyota of Scranton were the center of attention at this year’s BasketBALL Gala. Boberick, who lost his mother to cancer, was awarded the car in a competition among 42 area high schools.
When Toyota of Scranton connects with its community, it goes all in. Take, for instance, Coaches vs. Cancer. Since its inception in 1993, this national program has raised more than $87 million in donations to the American Cancer Society. Its success is due primarily to the leadership of college basketball coaches who energize their teams and campuses to raise awareness and funds in the fight against cancer.
 
Scranton, though, isn’t home to a large university with a big-time basketball program. So the dealership threw its support behind the next best thing: It helped expand the nation’s largest Coaches vs. Cancer engagement on the high school level.
 
Here’s how it works. In each of the past four years, Toyota of Scranton has invited the principals at the area’s 42 high schools to nominate one student based on various criteria, such as grade point average, extracurricular activities, community service and specifically participation in Coaches vs. Cancer activities. The principals then narrow the field to three finalists who are revealed at a pep rally held at the dealership. The finalists, in turn, are the guests of honor at the black tie BasketBALL Gala, held each May. This year some 400 attendees learned about the finalists’ personal stories and selected one winner—who was presented the keys to a 2016 Corolla LE donated by Toyota of Scranton.
 
The evening also included silent and live auctions. All told, it generated an impressive $250,000 in donations to the cause.
 
Toyota of Scranton’s involvement, though, doesn’t begin and end with the high school program. Employees also volunteer at Coaches vs. Cancer events throughout the year and help with fundraising, even selling T-shirts at the store. And the dealership donated a “Road to Recovery”-wrapped Sienna for the organization to use to take patients to and from treatment.
 
Oh, and one of the store’s sales consultants, Andrew Kettel, is the founder of the local program and chairs the campaign along with his wife, Bridget. Greg Gagorik, president of Toyota of Scranton, and his wife Meghan Lennox Gagorik, marketing director for the dealership, chaired the team that put on the gala.
 
“We pride ourselves on giving back to our community in many different ways,” says Meghan. “But Coaches vs. Cancer hits close to home. We lost both of Greg’s parents as well as many other family members and friends to cancer. The girl that won the car last year, Natalie DiGregorio, was a cancer survivor herself. This year’s winner, Andrew Boberick, lost his mother to cancer. When you get to know kids like this and all that they’ve been through, how can you not try do something to help?”
 

From the Heart
Toyota of Scranton President Greg Gagorik addresses the more than 400 attendees at the black tie event that raised $250,000 in donations to the American Cancer Society. Gagorik lost both of his parents, as well as other family members, to cancer.

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