Helena High Seniors Sell Playoff Shirts to Benefit Capital's Van - KFBB.com News, Sports and Weather

Helena High Seniors Sell Playoff Shirts to Benefit Capital's VanHemelryck

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It hasn't been since 2004 that both the Helena High boys and girls basketball teams both made it to the state tournament in the same year, and in that vein the Bengal seniors have decided to sell state playoff t-shirts. But if you look in the year, there's a couple of letters that may surprise you.

"It started as an idea to get shirts for state, and we needed something to give the money to and we thought of Shelby, and immediately knew it was a good cause," said Helena High senior Sydney Frankforter. "Her and her family could use this more than anybody."

Helena High senior Sydney Frankforter and her friends created Helena High state shirts with "S.V." in the Bengal's ear for Shelby VanHemelryck, as they're donating all of the shirts proceeds to their cross town rival for her sixth open heart surgery on March 23, which will cost roughly $15,000 after insurance.

"Obviously there's a cross town rivalry, but when it comes to stuff like this we're all going to support each other no matter what," said Frankforter. "We're all going to be there for each other no matter what."

The Bengals buying the shifts also know the importance of their purchase.

"This could actually help her family out to be able to pay for it," said Helena High senior Matt Ellsworth. "I actually think this is a real good idea for what they're doing."

"It feels good to know that we're helping someone out who really needs it," said Helena High freshman Keanan Horn.

"Even though we get competitive at crosstown and stuff, we're a family town," said Helena High freshman Katie Jenneskens.

And the support means the world to the VanHemelryck family.

"I was really blown away by that," said Shelby's mom, Robyn VanHemelyrck. "They are amazing kids. These kids are fierce rivals on the court, but the second they're done, they are friends, they're teammates. It's a community."

"It's incredible," said Shelby. "All the community showing love, and even people from out of town just putting away all the basketball rivalries, and just coming together to do something special for me. And it makes me and my family very proud."

As of today the Helena seniors have sold about half of their t-shirts, raising over $900 for Shelby's next surgery. On top of that a GoFundMe account, started by Carroll softball player Brittany Smith, has raised nearly $10,000, and other high schools, such as Flathead High over $500 have chipped in for the cause as well.

If you'd like to donate to the GoFundMe account, just follow this link. Also, if you're interested in a "Team Shelby" shirt, contact Jillian or Kirsten Mergenthaler.

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