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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 08/08/12
Bulldogs begin fundraising
for Watchdog game
by CHRIS GRAYThe Romeo Bulldogs are blitzing the summer with fundraising efforts to battle cancer and honor those who have struggled against it.
Observer Staff Writer
The 4th Annual Watchdog football game isn't until Friday, Sept. 14, but the Bulldogs have already begun the collection process in the hopes of raising funds to fight against cancer.
The majority of fundraising for the Watchdog game takes place months ahead of time, meaning football players and other student athletes are currently working to raise money before school begins.
Each year, members of the varsity football team raise at least $250 to purchase pink jerseys to wear during the game. Instead of donning the player's name, the name of a loved one is printed on their backs. The names are selected by the players to honor someone who has survived cancer, is battling it or was a victim of the disease.
Of the money collected, an average of $22,000 is raised by the jersey fundraiser alone. Players do everything from cut grass to asking for donations.
Cooper Laurain, a junior linebacker, is taking a slightly different approach. Inspired by his older brother, he is conducting a can drive until the day before the game. He has already raised $500 and doesn't plan to stop.
"I think it's better to work for your money than to ask for a check," Laurain said.
His jersey will bear the name of his grandfather, a survivor of prostate cancer for 16 years. He said he is happy to be a part of something the whole community supports.
"Every year it seems like more and more people are getting involved," he said.
Trent Satur, a senior linebacker, shares in Laurain's thoughts on the game, saying it's "awesome" to be a part of something so big.
He will be playing in honor of his father who died of leukemia eight years ago.
"I feel like it's a great way of respecting him by playing in this each year," Satur said.
Jason Couch, co-head coach for varsity football, said as the game continues into its fourth year it has focused less on the fundraising and more about honoring individuals.
"It really turned into a great learning experience for our young men to know there is more to life than football," he said.
Even so, the Watchdog games have raised more than $225,000 for cancer research during the past three years. Couch said he expects that amount to go over $300,000 before this year's game takes place.
"That's just pretty amazing," Couch said. "It's really turned into a community involved event."
To assist in fundraising, a special T-shirt is on sale for $15 that doubles as admission into any sports event held the week of the Watchdog game. The shirts can be purchased at the Romeo High School Athletic Department or FAMS T-Shirts and Design.
Other groups and sports teams, including Student Council, band, cheerleaders, golfers and swimmers, will also hold fundraisers as the event nears. These include selling wristbands, bandanas and even a pool party on Aug. 30 at the high school.
In the spirit of honoring individuals, the Four Corners Football Club will set up a pre-game tent for cancer survivors and their families. The tent will have snacks and other surprises as a way of recognizing the families.
A new addition this year is the establishment of a scholarship fund. A portion of the money will be placed in this fund, which Couch said he hopes will become endowed. The scholarship would be given to a graduating senior who aims to further their education.
Couch said part of the inspiration comes from hearing the hardships families go through when battling cancer.
"This will hopefully last forever, even if the Watchdog game ends or not," Couch said.
Call (586) 281-1145 for more information.