Fairmont Senior Student Athlete spreads Christmas cheer with the gift of a basketball


Marley Washenitz is spreading some Christmas cheer by giving away basketballs.

FAIRMONT, W.Va. – Fairmont Senior Student Athlete Marley Washenitz is spreading some Christmas cheer by giving away basketballs to underprivileged kids.

Washenitz approached her father stating that she wanted to do something to give back to the underprivileged and at-risk kids in the area. She partnered with her trainer, Mike Barwis, who is a former West Virginia University Head Strength Coach, owner of Barwis Methods Training Center and the Athletic Angels Association, to provide the gift of a basketball during the holidays.

“I know in West Virginia they have so many good athletes that are probably just as good as me, if not better, that have crazy athleticism and very great skills, but they don’t have the same opportunities to showcase them. And I want to start getting kids, you know, more opportunities and more exposure in this state because I know there is a lot more than what is being said,” said Marley Washenitz, Fairmont Senior Girls Basketball Guard.

Marley said she has been thankful to have the opportunities that she has been given thanks to her parents and the positions she has been placed into through basketball.

“She titled it as ‘Deck the halls with a ball’ and she wanted to do a basketball drive because basketball has given so much to her. And its opened up so many doors and opportunities. And I know that the first basketball that we gave her provided her the same opportunities that now she wants to provide to other kids. So, I don’t think there is anything greater than putting a smile on a kids faces, especially during this time of the year, and especially a basketball, something that may change their life forever,” said Frank Washenitz, Marley’s father.

Marley also said being able to give the gift of a basketball during the holidays, especially during the pandemic with it affecting so many families, feels nice to be able to give to others. She stated that the community has always shown her a lot of support and giving back means a lot.

“There are kids out here who probably don’t get as good of Christmas’ as others,” Washenitz said. “And just being able to make sure they know that they matter and that there is someone out there who doesn’t even know them and they want them to know that they matter means a lot.”

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