BILLINGS — The high school basketball games between Ekalaka and Baker on Tuesday will have special meaning eastern Montana referee Sarina Venable.
The schools will use the games as a fundraiser for Venable, who has been diagnosed with Stage 3 Leiomyosarcoma, which the Mayo Clinic describes as a type of cancer that begins in smooth muscle tissue.
In lieu of an entry fee, free-will donations will be accepted at the game to help Venable and her family. A junior class cake raffle will also be held. Venable is not officiating this season.
Venable has been a high school basketball official working out of the Miles City pool for several years. Venable (née Green) was a standout high shcool player from Whitewater, then went on to play at both Miles Community College and Rocky Mountain College.
In 2022, Venable was inducted into the Miles Community College athletic hall of fame.
A similar fundraiser was held for Venable in Colstrip last week.
Last summer, Venable's teenage son Kyler was injured in an ATV accident and had his right knee amputated at the knee.
"She's just been through a lot," said Tim Robinson, a PE teacher at both Lincoln and Longfellow schools in Baker. "Both communities (Baker and Ekalaka) are really big on giving to people that need help. And this, hopefully we get her some support."