The family has thus been trying to raise funds in various ways for the expense — they currently have about $10,000, under half of what they need.
As usual, however, the police came to the rescue. Specifically Sgt. Greg Martin of the Somerset Police Department.
Every year around this time, the police department plays a charity basketball game, typically against a local high school team to raise money for that school. This year, however, Martin had the idea to do something different.
“I know Dana (a Somerset Water employee) from working here at the City,” said Martin. “Her older daughter used to go to school with my son. I thought a lot about it, to try to figure something out to raise money.”
Playing another city agency, however, seemed like a “neat” idea to Martin: “Something where we could get a tradition going and have a bit of a fun rivalry.”
Martin spoke to Coby Dykes of the fire department, and “he was all excited about it” as well.
“It feels great,” said Martin of being about to help out Haylee Whitis. “Most of us like to be involved in things and part of the community — not just me, but the whole department. It’s even better when it’s someone you know personally. (The Whitis’ are) a good family.
Admission to the game is $5. Hoops fans will also have the chance to win a unique piece of UK basketball memorabilia — a basketball signed by current Kentucky coach John Calipari. Raffle tickets are one for $5 or three for $10.
Additionally, t-shirts and bracelets promoting Haylee’s cause will be on sale for $10 and $2, respectively. All proceeds go toward the “Benefit for Haylee Whitis” fund.
Additionally, at halftime, girls from Pulaski Elementary will participate in their own brief basketball game.
Martin thanked Major Doug Nelson of SPD for supporting the game, and Mayor Eddie Girdler as well, as the mayor provided a special trophy that could be used as a “traveling trophy” should this game between the police and fire departments become an annual event.