Strikes for Hope bowling event helps fund cancer research

MENOMONEE FALLS (WITI) -- Hundreds turned out for the Strikes for Hope charity bowling tournament at Classic Lanes on Saturday afternoon, January 17th. Proceeds from the event benefit cancer research.

Brothers Brian and Dave Ellenbecker have been throwing the event for six years now and say they're thrilled that their love for the sport is connected to their passion to fight cancer.

"It's really incredible to see the community, family and friends, and people we don't know come hear about our cause and bring all the money to us and raise money for a good cause," said Brian Ellenbecker.

The men say around 40 teams signed up for this year's tournament.

"We started this when my mom was diagnosed with uterine cancer," said Dave Ellenbecker. "We watched what this did to my mom -- and my dad, last year, was diagnosed with lung cancer as well. We see the fight, we see friends and family go through this and how difficult it is."

The Ellenbecker brothers are working to raise as much money as possible through donations and raffles. Experts say benefits such as Strikes for Hope are crucial to cancer research programs.

"Like all research facilities, the federal funding has been decreasing so we rely more and more on private philanthropy," said Peggy Lebrun with the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center. "People are being diagnosed earlier, the treatments are better, but we are still after that cure."

Organizers say not only is the bowling tournament a great family event, but every penny raised is helping to defeat the devastating disease.

"It's very touching to us. We all have a really good time, but at the end of the day we know we did something really good for the community as well," said Dave Ellenbecker.

The brothers have held a combinations of charity golf, volleyball and bowling events in the past. Not including Saturday's tournament, the Ellenbecker's have raised more than $95,000 for the Medical College of Wisconsin Cancer Center.