MIDDLEPORT — “The Friendly Community” raised the bar on local youth football and giving back even higher Saturday with their first Cancer Awareness Games at Royalton-Hartland High School's Bruno Pacini Field.
LOYAL Roy-Hart Rams and Newfane Youth Panthers youth teams of all ages and sizes competed throughout the day, tackling each other, while parents and other volunteers set up tables, working concessions and cancer awareness tents, tackling cancer by selling colored ribbons, bracelets, hair bows and more with proceeds benefitting the American Cancer Society.
“We're also selling 50-50 halftime field goal tickets for each game,” said event chairwoman Amanda Foster. “If you make the field goal at halftime, you get half the pot and the rest goals to the American Cancer Society, The Buffalo Bills gave us bracelets to sell and we have footballs and cancer ribbons as well.”
Thanks to a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the National Football League, cancer awareness games being played throughout the United States celebrates cancer survivors, while raising funds for the ACS's mission to save lives.
Ribbons of a variety of colors on sale represented those affected by cancer: breast cancer (pink), ovarian cancer (teal), uterine cancer (peach), lung cancer (white), children's cancer (yellow) and all cancers (purple).
Players on the four Roy-Hart and four Newfane teams that competed also wore colored socks and others donned cancer ribbon helmet decals.
The morning began with a little rain and mostly gray, overcast skies, but by the afternoon, with the sun out in full force, parents and their children donning Newfane blue and Roy-Hart purple colors and their cancer awareness accessories dotted the landscape with color.
“We're making do right now. We're doing the best that we can,” Foster said Saturday morning. “These are just our first games. We'll be here all day.”
Players were quick to answer the question, “What would you do if you saw cancer coming towards you on the football field?”
Joseph Foster said the first thing he would do is tackle it, then, “I would punch it, kill it, jump on the ball, steal the ball, get a pick-six and get six touchdowns.” Added Rams player Liandrea Foster, “I'd rub his face in the ground. I would throw cancer on the ground and get a touchdown.”
Foster said the NFL and ACS “Crucial Catch Program” focuses on early cancer detection, education and access to screenings that can detect cancer early, when it's more treatable.,
Anyone wishing to donate to the American Cancer Society on behalf of the LOYAL Roy-Hart Rams youth football program can go to Facebook under LOYAL Youth Football.
Follow Union-Sun & Journal sports reporter John D'Onofrio on Twitter at @JohnD'Onofrio7.