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“Fight Like a Soldier” fundraiser for Sauk Prairie basketball coach’s fiancée

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SAUK PRAIRIE (WKOW) - The Sauk Prairie boys' basketball team took down Baraboo on Thursday night, 62-27. But the night was about much more than the basketball taking place on the court.

Sauk Prairie boys' basketball coach Sean McGann and his fiancée, Alyssa Gruender, went viral in a video in fall of 2018, making fun of the NFL quarterback sack rules. As you can see, it showed the couple's sense of humor.

"That's one of my favorite things about her, is her ability to laugh and to make me laugh," said Coach McGann, before Thursday night's game. "Even in midst of all this stuff, she hasn't lost that."

The fun has been few and far between the last three months for the couple as Alyssa has been battling a neurological disorder, that is still puzzling doctors.

"Really the hardest part of it is not knowing [what she's battling]," said Coach McGann.

Alyssa has suffered seizures, been in and out of the hospital, and has difficulty speaking and eating. She's undergone numerous MRIs, CT scans and a brain biopsy.

The community wanted to help. So before Sauk Prairie was set to face Baraboo, where Coach McGann went to high school, he had the idea to put together a fundraiser with a silent auction to benefit Alyssa.

Luckily, before tip off, Alyssa felt well enough to come to the game and together, the couple expressed their gratitude.

"Thank you for coming out tonight," said Alyssa Gruender, to the crowd. "It means a lot to me and my family.

"The [money] checks and everything is awesome, but the thing that matters most is this [the community support]," said Coach McGann, to the crowd. "You guys coming here to support us. It's been a really hard time for us."

Coach McGann says for right now, the two are still planning on getting married this summer. And before that, a new treatment should begin soon.

"We don't know if it's going to work," said Coach McGann. "But it's hope. And so we're holding on to that."

If you'd like to help the couple, you can donate to their GoFundMe page here.

Chip O'Brien

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