CHS football seniors (from left) Jesse Whipps-Schnelle, Nick Kubishta, Dallton Dewey and Logan Johnson are leading the Bulldogs’ drive to help St. Jude score a victory over pediatric cancer. GINI DAVIS/The Chronicle
CRESWELL – Whenever they take the field, the Creswell Bulldogs football team always works hard to get into the endzone and – if possible – win the game. But now they have extra incentive to battle for every last TD, win or lose, because each touchdown scored by today’s Bulldogs may help save the life of a future one.
The Creswell High School football program has joined St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital’s Touchdowns Against Cancer effort, in which supporters pledge a certain amount for every touchdown their team scores during September, or make a one-time donation instead – and the Bulldogs invite all their loyal fans to join the cause.
It’s a cause close to the hearts of Creswell Athletics Booster Club Lori Leavitt and her husband, David Leavitt, who is spearheading this drive for the Bulldogs.
”Our kids have seen several of their friends battle cancer,” Lori said. ”It’s scary for an adult to receive a diagnosis of cancer, but it is particularly devastating to watch a child receive a cancer diagnosis and then suffer through the extreme chemotherapy and radiation treatments, which often have debilitating effects for a lifetime.”
David said that fundraiser flyers have been distributed to all players and CHS students, and he’s getting signs and banners made to encourage community members to support the football team – and Touchdowns Against Cancer.
Unfortunately, Creswell’s contribution will be a come-from-behind effort. ”We’re starting a bit late,” David confirmed. ”It’s supposed to be four to six weeks before the season starts that you sign up and start getting the word out – but we didn’t know about it until they sent an email to (Head Coach) Scott (Worsham).”
That means time is limited for Creswell fans to participate in this push to score the biggest ”win” of all – victory over childhood cancer, which is diagnosed in about 175,000 children age 14 and under each year, according to St. Jude statistics.
While cancer – including leukemia, lymphoma, brain tumors, etc. – is the leading cause of death by disease among U.S. children past infancy, more than 80% of U.S. childhood cancer patients now become long-term survivors, thanks to better therapies such as those developed and tested through research done through St. Jude, which sees about 7,500 patients annually.
About 420,000 pediatric cancer survivors currently live in the U.S., meaning that this issue can and does touch many schools, communities, and families such as the Leavitts.
”I think if we can get the word out there, we could make a big difference in our small community in fighting cancer; in one way or another cancer has affected all of us,” David said.
Touchdowns Against Cancer is the largest high school football charity program in the nation, and all funds raised benefit St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, a premier pediatric cancer research center located in Memphis, Tennessee.
So, make it personal; make a pledge, and join the Bulldogs’ effort to help defeat childhood cancer. Go to touchdownsagainstcancer.com; search for and select your team (Creswell, Oregon), and go to your team’s page.
To create your personal profile on your team’s page, click ”Become a Fundraiser” and follow the steps, then share your profile with other potential supporters through email and social media. Follow the action on social media at #TAC2019.
”It’s an exciting program,” Coach Worsham said. ”I’m hoping we can get some momentum on this, and we’re hoping to put a lot of touchdowns on the board against Illinois Valley this Friday, so I hope everybody gets their pledges in!”