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Headband memorializes Nickel

Hortonville Girls Hoops Club partners with area business

By Scott Bellile

T-shirts memorializing Hortonville teen Emily Nickel were so well received in the community that a local athletic club now have basketball headbands in production.

The Hortonville Girls Hoops Club have partnered with Fox Cities Embroidery and SlipNot Headware to manufacture purple headbands as a second way to fundraise for Emily’s family.

Fox Cities Embroidery owner Jill Kramer said headbands go on sale Friday, Oct. 30 at her store, located at 251 E. Main St. in Hortonville. Each headband will cost $15, and all money not used to cover the costs for material and printing goes to the Nickel family.

Nickel family friend Robin Kolarik said she initiated the headbands as a tribute to Emily’s athletic side. Emily played basketball on Hortonville’s JV team and likely would have played varsity this winter.

The headbands are purple because purple was Emily’s favorite color. They’re stitched with the message “Be you (heart)—Emy,” in Emily’s actual handwriting. The message was lifted from a marker board at home after her death.

Nickel, 16, died Sept. 25 in a one-vehicle rollover on School Road in Greenville. She was a passenger. Three girls inside the vehicle were injured.

“Hortonville really pulls together as a community,” Kramer said. “That’s the great thing, I guess, about being a small town.”

Kolarik’s goal is to see every female basketball player in Hortonville wear the headband, but she said she’d love to see boys wear them as well.

“The more that sell, the more that will help the Nickel family,” Kolarik said.

In addition to designing headbands, Kolarik said she hopes to hold an annual spring three-on-three basketball tournament in memory of Emily.

Tribute T-shirts remain available through Fox Cities Embroidery for $10 each. Proceeds go to the Nickel family.
“I think [the T-shirt] helps to keep her memory alive because she was pretty involved in the community, and a lot of kids knew her,” Kramer said.

Kramer said 350 tribute T-shirts have been sold to date. More than 300 sold in the first hour of the Homecoming 2015 football game.

The Nickel family approached Fox Cities Embroidery with the idea. They wanted to memorialize Emily in a way that students and family could see her smiling face.

The shirts feature on the front Emily’s photo and on the back another handwritten message of hers: “The true key to happiness is to love who you are. Be you. –Emy”. The statement was Emily’s own saying, Mark said.

“It was her belief,” Emily’s father Mark said, “and we wanted to honor that by putting it on [the shirt], about people being themselves … Many kids said that Emily put a smile on their face and told them to be themselves.

“We’re just honoring Emily,” Mark tearfully explained. “She was a very special girl. We loved her.”

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