by Milla Miller and Ruby Graham
Friday night, Nathan Hale students crowd into the stands to watch their football team play against the Liberty Patriots. The fans are loud and ready, jumping at the chance to cheer their team on.
But this night’s game wasn’t all about football.
On September 30th, Nathan Hale gathered to participate in the 2nd annual Pink Out game, organized and brought to their home field by their own cheer team.
Cheer coach, Magic Demirel, has always encouraged her students to be involved and make positive changes in the world. With this in mind, the team decided to create the Pink Out theme to raise awareness for breast cancer.
Originally, the first two years of Pink Out had only motivated students and teachers to wear pink and promote breast cancer awareness, but the cheer team wanted to do more.
“We like that we bring awareness, but we want to actually do something. We want to raise some money. We want to bring in more attention,” Demirel said and remembers her student’s enthusiasm about putting their ideas into action.
The cheer group decided to give the 705 dollars collected at the game to The Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center.
“One of the things we like about Fred Hutch is that 90 percent of donations go directly to fund research,” Demirel said . “With our idea of change for the future, we liked that a huge chunk of the money went directly to research”.
Similarly, for the past two years, during basketball games, the team has also raised awareness and money for Autism research.
“We are really excited to take everything we learned from the event this year and make that into more than just bringing awareness…”
Demirel can’t wait to collaborate with the cheer squad on charitable fundraising for the years to come.
Among the hundreds of supportive students, there are a few who have dealt with cancer firsthand.
Jaden Taylor, a freshman at Nathan Hale, wore a pink bandanna and sparkly pink cowboy hat. Both items were borrowed from his friends and though the hat made it back to its owner, the bandana stayed with him for days to come.
But this bandana isn’t the only thing that will stay with him.
Cancer runs in Taylor’s family. He estimates that over 18 people in his family have been diagnosed with cancer, some of whom have had more than one kind.
According to Taylor, his mom said, “The worst part about cancer isn’t what it does to you but what it does to everyone around you.”
Cancer has affected Taylor’s daily life. He says that after cancer, his mom changed, and she wasn’t herself anymore. Because of her cancer, she takes several medications and has many health problems. The rest of his family is also often very sad.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Taylor said. “To show awareness of breast cancer.”
He believes that if more people knew about mammograms, less people would suffer from breast cancer and its effects. Mammograms are x-ray exams of the breast. They are often used to screen for breast cancer in women. Mammograms can be used to check for breast cancer in women either with or without symptoms.
Although mammograms don’t always have the same effectiveness for every woman,, they can certainly help prevent the advancement of breast cancer. These x-rays can catch cancer in the early stages and make it much easier to treat it.
Taylor believes that if his family members had gotten mammograms, their cancer could’ve been prevented or at least helped, and he is very right.
Spread awareness of breast cancer. Share the facts around mammograms. Help others who may have suffered from cancer.
The spread of breast cancer awareness doesn’t have to end with the Pink Out or October.
“The only thing left to add is that cancer sucks,” Taylor finishes.
Photos by Magic Damirel.