Lady Griz Host EWU and Raise Funds for Burn Camp

By JOEL CARLSON for GoGriz.com

You’ve read Alyssa Smith’s story, and you’ve watched it as well. You’ve been inspired by Camp Eyabsut and the good that it does in the lives of burn survivors. Now you can do something to help.

When the Lady Griz host Eastern Washington Saturday at Dahlberg Arena, there will be a number of ways to financially assist a camp that helps so many and functions solely on the generosity of others, like you.

The easy way: Bring coins, cash or a check (made out to Camp Eyabsut) to the game. Firefighters from the Missoula Rural Fire District and Local 271 will be at Dahlberg Arena entrances with boots in hand when the gates open at 1 p.m. Can’t make the game but still want to make a difference? Donate online at SaveBurnCamp.org.

The tasty way: That New Year’s resolution to avoid monster cookies and any item that has the word “Oreo” as its primary ingredient? This is more important. Last year’s bake sale included items made by the Lady Griz players, some parents and other program supporters. And they sold out fast. Too fast.

This year’s bake sale will be similar, just 10 times bigger, better and more mouthwatering. Why stop at just the Lady Griz? This year Smith recruited the rest of Montana’s women’s athletic teams to participate. Buy something and let them keep the change, because 100 percent of the proceeds Saturday go directly to Camp Eyabsut. There are zero percent overhead and administrative costs.

The stylish way: 200 T-shirts will be available for sale on a first-come, first-served basis. And not just any T-shirt, but one with an original Lady Griz/Eyabsut logo designed by Thayne Palmer, the younger brother of former Griz football players Jace and Tyler. The shirts are pretty sweet and also affordable at $15, so they won’t last long. (Note: If you’re going to go big at the bake sale, you might want to size up on the T-shirt, just in case.)

It’s quite a story. Four years ago Alyssa Smith, a burn survivor who knows first-hand the benefits of Camp Eyabsut, showed up in Missoula to play for the Lady Griz. At the time few if any Missoulians had ever heard of thecamp.

Today Smith is in her senior season, and because of her efforts Lady Griz fans will be one of the main benefactors that allows this summer’s camp to be held. And they can even pronounce Eyabsut (YAWB-soot) like they’ve been saying it their entire lives.

“Alyssa is a great example of somebody who is defined by more than just what she does on the basketball court,” UM Director of Athletics Kent Haslam said. “She has a cause that she is very passionate about, and she is using basketball as a way to give back.

“To have her step forward and say, ‘This is what I believe in, and this is what I want to do’ shows her maturity and willingness to think of others before herself. She’s a great example not just for her fellow student-athletes but for all of us.”

There is also a game Saturday, and it will be worth sticking around for. Montana, which is tied atop the Big Sky Conference standings with Montana State, will host third-place Eastern Washington at 2 p.m. The Eagles won the teams’ first meeting at Cheney, Wash., earlier this month, 58-56.

Montana Sports Information  —  GoGriz.com