State College Girls’ Basketball Rallies for Rudy

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Ruby True

The State College Girls’ Basketball team introduces their players while other team members wear “Rally for Rudy” t-shirts on the sidelines on Tuesday, Jan. 25, at the Blue-Out game.

Ruby True, Staff Writer

Rudy Burruss was a special education paraprofessional at State High and a junior varsity boys basketball coach for many years. Last November, Rudy was diagnosed with colon cancer, and was recently diagnosed with Lymphoma. As a beloved member of the State High community, the girls’ basketball team set out to raise money for Burruss in their yearly charity game—this year named “The Blue-Out”—on Tuesday, Jan. 25. 

Prior to the game, students and community members could buy blue “Rally for Rudy” t-shirts, which the team sported during warm-ups. The shirts were sold during lunches, and spectators were encouraged to wear blue in the stands at the game, as the color blue represents colon cancer awareness. Additionally, there was a raffle with prizes ranging from candy to Penn State gear, with all proceeds from the raffle ticket and t-shirt sales going to Burruss’s GoFundMe, which his wife created roughly two months ago. The GoFundMe has greatly surpassed its original goal of $30,000 and is still growing at a whopping $70,000. 

During halftime, Bob O’Donnell, superintendent and long-time friend of Burruss spoke. He first invited everyone down from the crowd who was wearing a ‘Rally for Rudy’ t-shirt to gather on the court, where they could be seen by Burruss himself, who had Facetimed in to watch the game. O’Donnell read aloud a message that Burruss wanted to share with the people at this fundraiser game. 

“Please let everybody know that I am humbled and honored for this rally, I’ll be watching from home. I miss everybody terribly and everybody’s love and support fuels me to winning this battle,” O’Donnell read.

He’s a big man with an even bigger heart.”

— Superintendent Bob O’Donnell

The last part of halftime was used to announce the total amount of money raised by the team: $3350. The money will go towards Rudy’s battle against colon cancer and lymphoma. 

At the Blue-Out game, the State College Little Lions played the Altoona Lady Lions. State College was the underdog—Altoona’s conference record was 6-3, while State High’s was 3-5. Going into the last quarter, State College and Altoona faced off 35-34, State College up by 1. After an intense last quarter, the Lady Lions ultimately came out on top, with a final score of 55-40.

Burruss continues to fight this battle with everyone in the district by his side. In his time in the district, Burruss loved and supported his students and colleagues, and now the district, starting with the girls’ basketball team, hopes to give the same support back to a beloved State High faculty alumnus.