If you go to the Brandon High School football game Oct. 25 against East Bay, you might notice some additional cheerleaders on the Eagles sideline. Students from the Winthrop Charter School as well as other local cheer squads from kindergarten to fifth-grade are scheduled to join the Brandon cheerleaders as part of their inaugural “Pink Out” game to, among other things, honor former cheerleading coach Heather Hall.
“The idea behind it was to create a community event to celebrate people like Coach Hall,” said head coach Nancy Reagor.
Hall passed away on Nov. 13, 2012, at the age of 28 after a battle with skin cancer. While the pink movement is typically associated with the battle against breast cancer, Reagor is hoping they can raise awareness for all types of cancer.
“The back of our shirts say 'Whoever said winning isn't everything obviously wasn't fighting cancer,'” Reagor said. “We feel as though that survivors and people who have been affected by cancer in general should have awareness, too.”
While it has been almost a year since her passing, the memory of Hall still remains strong at Brandon. Principal Carl Green said he has the school rally behind the movement.
“I've seen more participation period at this school. Any event that comes up that touches someone's heart, I've seen a lot more participation this year than ever before,” Green said. “And the best part of that, the students are initiating the process of making us aware.”
Kelsey Devlaeminck is a junior on the squad and said she still thinks about her former coach.
“For me personally it has been hard. I use (Hall) for motivation,” Devlaeminck said.
Reagor hopes that this game becomes part of a larger movement. The team has been selling T-shirts and has gotten requests from Durant and Strawberry Crest high schools for those shirts. Already an anonymous donor has donated $1,000 to the squad.
“Every one is showing their awareness of the disease. Everyone understands how this disease can touch every family. It doesn't matter how wealthy you are or how poor you are. It touches every family,” Green said.