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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 09/19/12
2012 WATCHDOG SUCCESS. Above, the crowd of pink-clad football fans at the 4th Annual Watchdog fundraiser game formed a giant pink ribbon to show the importance of awareness for cancer research. The Sept. 14 game, along with multiple events leading up to it held by student athletes and groups, raised between $40,000 to $50,000 for cancer research. Below top, Kyle Goebzinger playing in honor of Kimberly Wendell proudly holding up his jersey on Sept. 14. Below bottom, Nick Hepner presenting his jersey to Romeo High School student and player #57 Drew Pointe who was diagnosed with Burkitt's Lymphoma in October 2011. Pointe is currently in remission, back to school, playing lacrosse and football.
(Observer photos by Mike Nicley)
Bulldogs raise funds,
awareness with Watchdog
by CHRIS GRAYThe Romeo Bulldogs have proven they are all bark and bite when it comes to tackling cancer.
Observer Staff Writer
The 4th annual Watchdog football fundraiser on Sept. 14 was a close battle between the Romeo Bulldogs and the L'Anse Creuse North Crusaders, but in the end the battle against cancer received a huge boost.
Greg Brynaert, athletics director, said an official amount hasn't been determined, but expects between $40,000 to $50,000 was collected from the football game and the events leading up to it.
"This continues to amaze me<the support of our community and support of our kids is fantastic," he said.
The money, raised for the American Cancer Society and Susan G. Komen, will be presented to the organizations during the Bulldog's homecoming pep rally. Last year the Watchdog game collected a total of $56,000.
A significant portion of the donations came from the purchase of commemorative pink T-shirts that double as tickets to all Watchdog activities. Jason Couch, co-head football coach, said T-shirt sales as well as enthusiasm about the game increased this year compared to past events.
"It was a wonderful night that had a lot of emotion and just a positive atmosphere," Couch said. "It's a very special night."
Along with the pink shirts, the varsity football team collected donations from the community to wear pink jerseys. Each bore the name of a cancer survivor or victim the team member was honoring, whether it was a friend, neighbor or loved one.
Following the game, fans and survivors alike filled the field to create the shape of a ribbon to symbolize the need for awareness. The Bulldogs then presented their pink jerseys to those that they named or to the families of the victim.
"As I walked around I saw lots of emotions, and it's just really cool to see our young men able to interact and show their appreciation," Couch said.
The football team also paid tribute to survivors and their families with a special tent, sponsored by the Four Corners Football Club, where survivors and their families could enjoy pre-game refreshments.
Alongside the football team, many other teams and groups became involved this year, from the band and track to Student Council. Brynaert said he was impressed by the combined efforts of all the students.
"It continues to grow and the kids are taking on the responsibility of hosting this special week," he said. "They have bent over backwards to make everything work."
Among the teams participating were the Romeo cheerleaders. Angie Robbins, head coach for cheer, said the girls approached businesses, sold 1,000 of the T-shirts and spent hours of community service to raise funds.
"It was a tiring weekend, but it really paid off in the end," she said.
In addition, the teams were in charge of rallying the middle and elementary schools to get involved. They asked the students from each school to create cards or letters for cancer survivors, which they will pick up today, Sept. 19, to deliver to cancer hospitals in the area.
At the game itself, the cheerleaders performed a "miracle minute," collecting donations from people in the stands for 60 seconds. L'anse Creuse North High School's cheer team, the opposing team for the game, collected donations on the other side of the field.
"I know all the teams worked hard, and it was really great to see the kids giving back, even if it was just their time," she said.
As a bonus to Romeo football fans, the pink-clad Bulldogs beat the Crusaders 24-21.