Helping Ella fight cancer


Charity games raise money for local student

By Glenn Battishill - [email protected]



Players from the Hayes High School boys and girls volleyball teams pose for a photo together during Thursday’s event to raise money for Ella’s Fight Club.

Players from the Hayes High School boys and girls volleyball teams pose for a photo together during Thursday’s event to raise money for Ella’s Fight Club.


Courtesy photo | Delaware City Schools

Hayes High School junior Madison Furr focuses on the volleyball during Thursday’s contest between students and teachers. All funds raised during the tournament were donated to Ella’s Fight Club.


Glenn Battishill | The Gazette

A Hayes High School student organized and led a community event Thursday that raised more than $1,700 to support Ella’s Fight Club.

The event was a volleyball tournament between the boys and girls volleyball teams and teams made up of staff and teachers. Donations were collected at the door and through a bake sale of donated items from Dipped Donut to support Ella Margraf, a local student who was diagnosed with cancer last year.

The event was organized by Hayes senior Natalie Hohman, who said she wanted to support Ella. The two met during a summer volleyball camp.

“This was something I wanted to do because multiple people in my family have had cancer, and I know that anything can help,” Hohman said after the event Thursday. “I thought volleyball would be fitting considering she attended the volleyball camp for the past few summers. I also play for the girls high school team, and I am a volunteer assistant coach for the boys high school team. … I thought that it would be a great way to support her and her family.”

The event was attended by hundreds, and Hohman said $1,767 was raised for Ella.

“The event was amazing!” Hohman said. “We had such a great turnout. I could tell the teachers and players had a lot of fun, and I enjoyed watching it.”

Hayes High School Athletic Director Steve Glesenkamp attended the event and praised Hohman for organizing it.

“Big kudos to Natalie Hohman for taking the (lead) to put the event together,” Glesenkamp said Friday. “She was the point person but also got others in our school community and volleyball programs to partner with her.”

Glesenkamp said the competition between students and staff always draws a crowd.

“The student body always enjoys seeing (staff) in a different role than a classroom,” Glesenkamp said. “By putting together programs and staff members, it was an enjoyable and fun evening. I saw people there who don’t have anyone in school anymore. People just wanted to come out and support. That is awesome. That’s outstanding.”

Delaware City Schools Superintendent Heidi Kegley said it was “wonderful” to see the community rally around Ella at the event Thursday.

“It was such an amazing evening to recognize and celebrate Ella,” Kegley said “It was wonderful to see our students, staff, and community come together at a great event to raise funds and show their support for the family as Ella continues her treatment. We are so grateful for our student, Natalie Hohman, for taking the initiative to organize this event with our volleyball teams. It was truly a great showing by Pacer Nation!”

Ella’s mother, Erin Margraf, said she didn’t personally know Hohman before the senior started planning the event.

“Besides my role as a teacher in the building and Natalie’s participation in volleyball program, we had no previous interaction or relationship,” Margraf said. “This event was purely organized out of kindness. When she found out about my daughter’s diagnosis, Natalie reached out to me and asked if she could organize an event to raise awareness and funds, and we graciously accepted.”

Margraf added Hohman did “a fantastic job” with the event.

“I am so impressed how well organized and smooth the event went,” Margraf said Friday. “Natalie did all of the planning, communicating and organizing. She did a fantastic job! The games ran smoothly, the schedule was spot on, and everyone had a great time. I love the idea of students versus teachers. It’s a great way to interact outside of the classroom walls and even better when the reason helps to support a good cause and involves the community.”

Margraf praised Hohman, adding she is “a wonderful role model and example for young student-athletes.”

“We are very appreciative of Natalie’s lead in this event for Ella and the support she received from the school district and the Hayes volleyball program,” Margraf said.

Hohman said she enjoyed seeing the community support the cause.

“My favorite part of the event was seeing how many people showed up to support Ella and her family,” Hohman said. “It was so amazing to see the great community we have.”

Players from the Hayes High School boys and girls volleyball teams pose for a photo together during Thursday’s event to raise money for Ella’s Fight Club.
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2023/01/web1_Ellas-fight-club.jpgPlayers from the Hayes High School boys and girls volleyball teams pose for a photo together during Thursday’s event to raise money for Ella’s Fight Club. Courtesy photo | Delaware City Schools

Hayes High School junior Madison Furr focuses on the volleyball during Thursday’s contest between students and teachers. All funds raised during the tournament were donated to Ella’s Fight Club.
https://www.delgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/40/2023/01/web1_DSC_0812.jpgHayes High School junior Madison Furr focuses on the volleyball during Thursday’s contest between students and teachers. All funds raised during the tournament were donated to Ella’s Fight Club. Glenn Battishill | The Gazette
Charity games raise money for local student

By Glenn Battishill

[email protected]

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.

Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.