Silent Night Game honors memory of Nicholas Wihlborg
Silent Game Night is Jan. 18, 2019. The public is invited to participate. (Photo provided).
By Laurie Gordon STANHOPE - The fourth annual Nicholas Wihlborg Foundation Silent Night game will be held at 7 p.m. on Friday, Jan. 18, at Lenape Valley Regional High School. The Lenape Valley Patriots Boys Varsitybasketball team will host Hopatcong. The premise of the game is simple: the crowd stays completely quiet until Lenape scores it's eighth point and then goes nuts. Eight was Nick's uniform number, so it is of great significance for his family and friends. This event holds special meaning to the Wihlborg family and the broader Lenape community. Dave Wihlborg, Nick's dad and president of the Nick Wihlborg Foundation said, "Nick would have been a Junior this year at Lenape, so it's special for us to be in the gym watching his classmates play and cheer in his honor. Every family who has lost a child shares the same fear, and that is someday their child will be forgotten. Our community proves year after year that Nick is remembered, and that means so much to us." The long term success of this event is attributable to a team effort between the Foundation Board and the Lenape Valley Basketball program, who have partnered together since 2015, with the first game being held just months after Nick passed away from Leukemia in November, 2014. "Events like the Silent Night game consistently brings our community together to remember Nick,” said Kimberly Moppert, Board Secretary for the Foundation. “We will never forget the feeling of the crowd during that first game in February of 2015. When Lenape scored their 8th point, it was amazing. The crowd erupted and cheered in the memory of Nick, and the response has been consistent since then.” That moment of joy, sadness and remembrance is what drives our Foundation in the work it does. It's all about remembering Nick, and it always will be. Dan Moylan has been coaching this game, and the Lenape team, for the past three years. He coached from 1999-2011 and then returned to the position in 2016. “This game is always a special game for myself and out players,” Moylan said. “Being a part of an event that far outweighs the game is very humbling. Our kids take a lot of pride in this game and want to represent Nick and his family in the best possible light as possible.” Over the past year, The Nicholas Wihlborg Foundation has conducted multiple fundraisers, with proceeds going directly to those who are impacted by childhood cancer. In 2018, the Foundation sent another child on his Make-A-Wish trip to Ireland, provided $10,000 towards a cancer research grant in Nick's name at the Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, provided over $7,500 to families whose children are in treatment at the Valerie Center, and helped a cancer survivor pay for his college tuition. Additionally, gift cards and donations are made to the Valerie Center during the holiday season to ease the burden of families who wake up in the hospital on Christmas morning. Lori Wihlborg, Nick's mother and Foundation Treasurer, acknowledged how valuable the partnership with the Valerie Center has been. "My family directly benefited from knowing the wonderful people at the Valerie Center and still do so today,” she said. “Continuing our relationship with them after Nick's passing has allowed us to make a difference to families just like ours. It's petrifying when you walk through those doors for the first time, and every time thereafter. Knowing that Foundations like ours is there for financial and emotional support helps ease the burden just a little bit." Ticket are $3 per adult, $2 per child. For more info visit www.nick8w.org.