The Holston Middle School Eagles won the Tuesday game at home against the North Middle Raiders 46-16, maintaining their unbeaten status for the season, but both teams came together to battle childhood cancer.
Both teams and cheerleaders wore gold bows for Chloe, an Innovation Academy of Northeast Tennessee student who is in Memphis undergoing cancer treatment. Her dad, Shawn Cress, a single parent and North alumnus, is with her.
The total raised was $2,201.50, including $1,700 from T-shirt sales and the rest from donations.
“We appreciate everything. It means so much to me and her,” Shawn said in a phone interview from Memphis Thursday. “No matter how little or big, it gives her motivation to keep fighting.”
Chloe goes to IA, which is the science, technology, engineering and math (STEAM) school inside Holston’s building. The students are combined for sports and non-academic classes such as music and art as well as lunch. Holston parent Karen Jenkins, mother of the football team’s quarterback, Luke Jenkins, said she helped organize the event. A nephew of hers has cancer and a cousin’s daughter died from it, she said.
Shawn said his daughter is about four months into a year-and-a-half treatment regimen and has been able to make two weekend visits home so far since she went to Memphis for treatments in early June.
September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. Statistics show that childhood cancer is the leading cause of death by disease in children younger than 19 in the United States. Every day, 43 children in this country are told they have cancer. One of those was Chloe of Colonial Heights.
She was diagnosed with alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma, also known as RMS. It is a rare and aggressive form of pediatric cancer. Chloe is receiving a combination of chemotherapy and radiation treatment at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Shawns had to leave his job in order to be with her during her months-long treatment in Memphis.
“I’m already out of unpaid time off,” he said.
Chloe’s Facebook page has more information on her and her bout with cancer.