ABERDEEN, S.D. – Northern State University
raised awareness about breast cancer on Saturday – and also raised more than $1,000 for a survivor who works at the university.
The team’s donation to Ann Eisenbeisz, NSU operations supervisor, was especially meaningful for Wolves kicker Felipe Alfaia, who worked for Eisenbeisz for four years and raised more than $300 himself.
“It was a chance for me to give back a little bit of the kindness she has always given me,” said Alfaia, a senior marketing major.
The Wolves’ Pink Out fundraiser game was started by Coach Tom Dosch. Players who want to wear pink – taping their wrists with pink athletic tape or wearing a pink article of clothing – must get a sponsor or sponsor themselves by bringing in a certain dollar amount, Alfaia said. This year, the money raised went to Eisenbeisz, along with a card and a football signed by all the Wolves players. Almost every player was wearing pink at the game, said Alfaia, who added that he was able to raise $305 with a lot of help from his business professors, tech center staff and friends.
Alfaia said Eisenbeisz has helped him a great deal. When he first came to NSU, he wasn't sure if he would be able to stay in school for financial reasons, especially being from Brazil. But International Student Adviser Stacey Schmidt helped convince Eisenbeisz to give him a job. He proceeded to work for Eisenbeisz at the NSU Computer Center every semester and every summer from January 2009 to May 2012, when he got an internship with the Food Export Association of the Midwest. Alfaia said Eisenbeisz would always take care of her workers, bringing in candy and leftover food from home – even sharing her lunch with him a few times when he didn't bring any food to work.
“Ann is an amazing person and I learned so much from her,” he said. “Her attitude and toughness are unbelievable, and I am glad I have her in my life.”
Even when she battled breast cancer, he said, Eisenbeisz “stayed strong and happy as always.” She didn’t even miss much work. He said Eisenbeisz has worked for Northern for numerous years and knows everything and everyone.
“I don't think this school can operate without her,” he said.
Photo: Felipe Alfaia and Ann Eisenbeisz