Damien Isch is a good kid. If you’re a parent, he is the kind of kid you’d want your child to hang out with. If you’re a teacher, he is the kind of kid you want in your classroom. If you’re a coach, Damien is the kind of kid you want on your team.

“His humor. He’s really funny,” said childhood friend Ben Scholz. “Obviously he’s a really great athlete but his character is what makes him standout to people. How he handles himself off and on the field.” If you’re in trouble Damien is the kind of kid who will have your back. So it’s no wonder that all of Ken-Ton has his now when it’s needed most of all. Isch, a 17-year old Kenmore West junior, was recently diagnosed with stage 2 Ewing Sarcoma.

It was the kind of news that left friends and family all over the community in stunned silence.

Damien left, Father Dan on right

“Just shock,” said close family friend Kristin Scholz. “You’re just going about your day, you get the phone call and it’s just shock.” Scholz was describing the shock when Damien’s dad, Don Isch, called to tell her about his sons diagnosis. Scholz, who’s son Ben has been a close friend of Damien’s for some eight years, said once the news set in her next thought was what can I do to help Damien and his parents-Don and Sue.

Kristin instantly spring in to action with ideas and fundraising efforts to aid the Isch family.

Scholz makes her living is fundraising so she not only had the drive and desire to help, she has the know how to make her ideas come to fruition. “I’m in a position to where as soon as Don told me this news, and I want to help, I know what needs to be done to get the ball rolling,” Scholz said. “Because I do it on a daily basis.”

Scholz first course of action was to start a GoFundMe page. Other upcoming events include “The Pins for a Purpose” bowling event that will be held at Classic Lanes, 1840 Military Road in Kenmore, this Sunday (1-3pm). On May 6th, at the Knights of Columbus 1530 Kenmore Avenue will be the sight of a meat raffle in Damien’s honor. The meat raffle will be co-hosted by WNY Atheltics own Frank Wolf and Tom Prince.

Several weeks ago Ken-Ton teacher/coach Dan Hannon organized a Dodgebal for Damien fundraiser where students played dodgeball to raise money for Damien. It was the type of event where kids could be directly involved in helping Damien.

That’s why Kristin Scholz feels the Pins for a Purpose is so vital. It’s an event where kids can make a difference financially for the family and actively support their friend and classmate. “I wanted to come up with something that the kids could do,” Scholz said. “And kind of make it a party for Damien too.”

Hearing the news of Damien being sick struck a chord with all of Ken-Ton especially at Kenmore West. Damien is a well-liked kid and three-sport athlete who plays football, hockey and lacrosse. His friends and teammates wanted to do their part to help Damien. “That’s why I looked for something that the kids would like to do that was at a pretty reasonable price point. It includes the pizza and the soda. Just something fun,” said Scholz. “1) They’re showing their support helping raise money and 2) they’re there. Damien will be there and he’ll see a lot of hockey buddies. Lacrosse and football and kids from school.”

Ben Scholz has taken it upon himself to spread the word of Pins for a Purpose. Ben said that in the moment of first hearing the news he and other friends were shocked. There were no words. Just disbelief. Pins for a Purpose takes away a little bit of that helpless feeling. It gives Damien’s friends the power to make a difference by raising money and lifting his spirits. “For sure,” said Ben Scholz. “We were all talking one day and we knew that our friend was in need of help.”

Anything to help Damien because Damien is the kind of friend who would be there for him of the situation was reversed. “I know that if I were sick or something had happened to me he would be the first person to ask if I’m ok and be there for me,” said Ben Scholz. “He’s been our friend since God knows how long do we knew we just had to be there for him.” Bowling will be $20 per person, price includes two games, pizza and pop. Teams of six will also be available.

The meat raffle will be $15 per ticket with tables of eight ($100) and 10 ($125) also available to reserve. Doors open at up with the raffles starting at 7pm.

For tickets or additional information, call Kristin Scholz at 716-380-8565.

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