Players of the Highland High School Girls Basketball team and members of the crowd at the Coaches vs Cancer game held up signs with names of individuals that they wished to honor - whether in pride of those who survived cancer, in encouragement to those still battling, or in remembrance of those who lost their battles.
The Highland Trojans honored all cancer survivors present during the break between the junior varsity and varsity games against Hammond High School by handing out flowers to those individuals in the audience.
Michaela Schmidt, junior at Highland High School, walked out to the bleachers to give her flower to her mother and recent cancer survivor, Deanna Schmidt. She was happy to be able to give Deanna her symbol of being a proud daughter.
“I’m proud of her for getting through it and I’m proud of anyone that is battling cancer.”
Although knowing how serious cancer is, Michaela doesn’t look at cancer as a weakness in people.
“It shows how strong they are and why they should keep fighting – they’re going to get through it.”
Encouraged by the Indiana Basketball Coaches Association, Highland High School, along with many other schools in the area, have been hosting the Coaches vs Cancer game for years now. Initially more of a pink event for breast cancer awareness, the Coaches vs Cancer game has evolved into what it is today – a fundraiser for the American Cancer Society.
Varsity Coach Tracie Mezera-Juarez supports what the special event instills in her players.
“Playing basketball is such a small portion of what this event is really about. The fact that we have two kids on our team whose parents survived cancer puts it into perspective – to be aware of how that affects high school kids and their parents.”
After a moment of silence for those who were honored, it came time for the Highland Trojans to take on Hammond Morton Governors for the benefit game. The entire game was a close match, but the Trojans ended up taking home the win, 49-41!