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West Salem senior honors aunt; with her mom in mind


West Salem, WISCONSIN (WXOW)  Chloe Stauffer is learning the power of a pink t-shirt can be far-reaching.

"About a year ago I started the project. I got the idea because my aunt was diagnosed with breast cancer," Stauffer said.

The West Salem senior is raising money for breast cancer research through the sale of t-shirts, which fans will where before their game with rival Westby.

Her Aunt Anne Miller is providing the inspiration. 

"She's just everything you'd want in an aunt. She's always there for me. She's funny and she reminds me of my mom. I love her everyday," said Stauffer.

There's another reason why Aunt Anne has become like a mom.

Chloe lost her mom unexpectedly in a tragic moped accident two summers ago.

"My mom, she was so happy. Everyone loved her. She had to talk to everyone. We'd stand in line somewhere and two seconds later she'd be friends with people on both sides of us. Obviously, it was hard. It would be hard for anyone. But I had family and friends to help me get through it." Stauffer said.

"I thought I did a pretty good job of getting through it and we're going to miss her everyday."

Cancer returned to Aunt Anne in early 2012.

And when it threatened to take Chloe's second mom, she knew she had to do something.

"I've just been so impressed with Chloe's strength and maturity. This is a hard time," said Chloe's Aunt Anne Miller.

"So for her to be playing not only sports and keep amazing grades, but also to do this amazing community involvement makes me very proud."

So, in memory of her mother and in honor of her Aunt Anne, Chloe presses on, using basketball as a way to "pay it forward" sort of speak.

You see, she's the only senior on the West Salem squad.

And she's taken on a mentor-like role for the next group of "pink panthers" if you will, much the way her Aunt Anne did for her.

"She's a great communicator," says West Salem head coach Mike Malott.

"She understands. She communicates, she always has a smile on her face. She tries to pick people up and encourage those people."

"This is so incredible. This is a focus beyond herself. She's very mature. She's amazing," Miller said.

"Some days when they need someone to tell them 'just shoot' or 'you're doing fine,' some days I just have to be there," said Stauffer.

Stauffer has raised over $3,000 through the t-shirt sales.

Thursday night's game against Westby will tip-off at 7:30 in West Salem.

Aunt Anne will be a guest speaker at halftime.

Scott Emerich will have more on this tonight during the 10pm Sports.

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