The Brandon High School cheerleaders, as they do every year, have been wearing pink for October Breast Cancer Awareness month. Their principal, Carl Green, is a cancer survivor, and their coach, Heather Hall, a cancer fighter.
"The whole squad wears pink and that shows unity," Green said, from the sidelines of McLane Stadium on Oct. 26, for Brandon's home game against the Plant City Raiders. "You see everybody wearing pink at the school [for October Breast Cancer Awareness Month] and young men with them as well."
As a cancer survivor for six years, Green said he is heartened to see the school community's support for raising awareness for the battle to both prevent and find a cure for the disease. He knows, too, that he stands as a story of hope in the minds of his students and staff.
"I try to show my strength," he said. "I show them my energy every day as a cancer survivor, to show them that no matter what you go through in life, you can defeat it."
Green said he knows, too, though, that "not everybody makes it," that "not everybody's body gives them a chance to fight through it," or to fight through it more easily.
That is why, he said, he welcomes the school's rallying around cheerleading coach Heather Hall, who is fighting cancer and for a short spell was able to attend the Oct. 26 football game against Plant City.
"I see a lot of other people [with cancer] still fighting, like Miss Hall, and my heart goes out to her," Green said. "I believe in her. I believe that she's a fighter and we pray for her all the time. She's an inspiration to all."
Count Devin Lowery among those who have been inspired by Hall's fight to beat cancer. Lowery is a co-captain of the Brandon High School varsity cheerleading squad.
To show their unity, and to support those fighting cancer, the cheerleaders in October add pink to their uniforms: pink socks, pink bows, pink ribbons.
"We wear pink every year for the month of October, just to show our support," Lowery said. "We have a lot of cancer survivors at our school, including our principal and our coach. We take it really seriously. It's really personal to us."
For more about Heather Hall's battle, Lowery asked that readers visit Heroes for Heather online at GiveForward.com. The site notes a fundraiser through Feb. 10 for the cheerleading coach, who reportedly was first "diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma in 1999, at the age of 15." The site notes further that:
In February of 2010, doctors found masses in Heather’s abdomen, which they began treating with an experimental medication. The cancer progressed, and spots were discovered in Heather’s brain in November of 2011. She recently underwent 2 rounds of radiation and is currently partaking in a type of chemotherapy at Moffitt.