Cancer doesn’t discriminate among young or old and male or female.
Neither do area schools helping to raise money to fight the disease.
The Lowell Red Arrows have set the standard when it comes to raising awareness and prevention of cancer among area high school districts.
For four years, the “Pink Arrow Pride Project” has raised close to $1 million. Money raised goes to benefit the Lowell Gilda’s Club, which features free cancer support for children, adults, families and friends.
The success of the Lowell project has garnered national attention. NBC’s Today Show ran a feature on the events and impact the project has had, not only on the Lowell community, but communities across the state and country.
Lowell football coach and project founder Noel Dean was even rewarded with the American Football Coaches Association Power of Influence Award this year.
With all the Lowell project has done locally, they have also tried to help other communities by hosting workshops and sharing the secrets of their success.
Belding’s B Foundation
One area community following the idea Lowell is the Belding Redskins.
Athletic director Joel Wilker and coach Mikayla Linebaugh attended a seminar at Lowell, which in turn created the B Foundation to help area families with cancer related expenses and support.
The B Foundation raised $45,000 after expenses in its first year. The Belding effort including T-shirt sales, sponsorships, an evening glow 5K, pink games and more.
The success exceeded expectations.
“It was way beyond what we thought we would raise,” Linebaugh said. “It was pretty easy. I credit the wonderful committee that worked on this.”
Linebaugh, who recently lost her father to leukemia, hosted a couple of cancer events in the past with a volleyball “Dig Pink” and a softball leukemia game, but wanted something bigger and better.
“I just wanted to be bigger, especially for my dad and the things we had been through,” Linebaugh said. “We wanted to be able to help other people as well.”
The B Foundation will be a yearly event for the Belding community and is one of many area events related to cancer fundraising and awareness.
CM and Lakeview “Pink” events
Lakeview High School will host a cancer night during its volleyball match on Oct. 26 against Big Rapids and Central Montcalm.
Central Montcalm recently hosted a volleyball “Pink Night” and will host a “Pink Out” tonight during the Green Hornets football game against Chippewa Hills.
This is the second year of events for Central Montcalm. Last year, more than $5,000 was raised.
“The event was incredible last year. We were able to remember former coach Bill Thwaites, who lost his battle with leukemia about 9 years ago,” Green Hornets football coach Marty James said. “And we also honored Tammie Beach’s fight against breast cancer.”
Beach is mother of Jon Beach, who was a senior on last year’s team.
The football team will be wearing special pink and green jerseys, pink socks and pink mouthguards during the game.
James is proud to help with the events.
“We want no one to fight alone and we want to do our small part to support the fight,” he said. “We are very fortunate to have a parent, Sarah Wetherington, who has taken these events upon herself and has done an amazing job of organizing and promoting the pink game. All of the credit for the organization of this event goes to her.”
Greenville High School will again host the “Hunt for a Cure.” Now in its third year, the basketball game will take place on Dec. 16 against East Grand Rapids.
The Montabella Mustangs hosted a “Dig Pink” volleyball night on Oct. 11 against Vestaburg. The cheerleading team will host a “Pink Stampede” tonight during the final home football game of the season.
Money raised will be split between the Cold Cap Treatment, which women wear while going through chemotherapy, and the Passionately Pink Foundation, which helps funds mammograms and breast cancer research.
Carson City-Crystal will host a cancer awareness night on Oct. 21 during the final home game of the season. Funds are being raised for the Susan B. Komen Foundation.
“I think the awareness piece is important in that our players and coaches can emphasize that cancer effects so many people and we will do our part to honor those effected,” Eagles coach Jason Gray said. “We also teach cancer awareness during the week at our practices so that the players understand what cancer is and we can help educate them on ways that cancer is caused. Our educational piece lasts about 10 minutes per practice.
“We are trying to build more than just a football program based on winning and losing. We are building a program that builds quality young men and this is an important part in that,” he added.