FEATURE: All about the Gold
HUMBLE – When people walk into a high school football stadium it is easy to see who is cheering for which team.
When fans walk through the gates into Humble ISD's Turner Stadium on Friday night, that might be a difficult task, considering most people will not be wearing their team colors.
Usually, when Atascocita and Kingwood clash, the colors strewn throughout the stands are red, blue and white. Red for the Atascocita Eagles and blue for the Mustangs of Kingwood.
But not this night.
In what has become a rivalry game between the Humble ISD programs, fans will be trading in their traditional school-color-coded shirts for golden #GoldFightWin t-shirts.
"It's a great opportunity to show how we can come together to support something that's bigger than football," Kingwood's Parker Hemphill said. "It's a great way to raise awareness for a cause like this."
Atascocita quarterback Brice Matthews added: "It just makes our rivalry more fun and eventful knowing that we are playing for a bigger cause than just winning a football game. And to know that those kids are going be watching us makes it better and that we are privileged to be in the position we are in today."
SFE supporting Gold Fight Win! #sfesharks#bethelightpic.twitter.com/Twg1xSf4Cj
— Shadow Forest Elem (@HumbleISD_SFE) September 4, 2019
The #GoldFightWin initiative is a combined effort between Humble Independent School District and local non-profit organizations Addi's Faith Foundation, L3 Foundation and Mother's Against Cancer to raise awareness about pediatric cancer.
"Things like this are things our players and their players will remember that for a long time, probably forever," Atascocita coach Craig Stump said. "That back when they were in high school, they played a game that was recognized. It doesn't add to the football part of it but I think in your memory to be a part of that, to be asked to be a part of that as a program, it's a special thing to be a part of."
The month of September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and the color dedicated to raising awareness Is gold.
For the players, they will still be in their traditional uniforms but instead of wearing their normal socks, they will be traded in for gold ones.
"To be totally honest it's really helped me to put the game in perspective. It's a big rivalry but to know that we are playing to bring awareness to something so much more important than one game, it pumps you up and gives you someone to really play for," Kingwood's Cade Burgess said. "I remember a while back hearing the story about the University of Iowa and how the kids in the children's hospital can see the football stadium and watch the games and how happy that makes them. The story really stuck with me. It's crazy how little things can become big things if enough people pay attention. We know people are doubting us going up against AHS. It's all we hear. But this game is special.
"We know we are playing for kids who can't play football right now. They are fighting their own fight. So, we will play football for them on Friday. We have been working so hard this week to be ready. We want to show the kids who are fighting cancer that we will battle for them and in honor of them. We hope they can see that on Friday. We play for them. Our team motto this year is whatever it takes. And that's so true with this game."
Along with the #GoldFightWin initiative, Addi's Faith Foundation founder Amber Bender knows the players will be still fighting for the win at the end of the night.
But as Bender and the players know that is secondary to the awareness being raised by the #GoldFightWin night under the Friday night lights, which she can't wait to see.
"I can't even explain how awesome it is going to be to see both sides completely decked in gold shirts with gold rally towels," Bender said. "Cheerleaders, the band, the teams all have something gold. It's just going to be amazing."
"It's nice to be a part of a movement like this. It's definitely a great cause. We've got to take care of those that are in need. We are just happy to be included in this type of event." - Kingwood coach Barry Campbell."
DURING THE GAME FANS CAN DONATE TO GOLD, FIGHT, WIN by CLICKING HERE
Fans are also encouraged to bring NEW stuffed animals to the game to help support children battling pediatric cancer.. Kaitlyn Sitton, a seventh grader at West Lake Middle School, is collecting stuffed animals to donate to Texas Children's Hospital, so we can, Stuff Out Cancer. The campaign will last from September 1 through September 30.
Addi's Faith Foundation, which was started in 2008, is headed up by Bender.
In 2007, Bender's daughter Addison Faith was diagnosed with a brain tumor. According to the organization's website, Addison "taught us all how to live big, fight hard and love lots".
Addison died just a few weeks shy of her second birthday.
Since the organization was started, they have fought for funding critical childhood cancer research and trying to help as many families as possible.
Pediatric Cancer Facts (per @GOLDFIGHTWIN1 Twitter Account)
- -In the US, 43 children per day or 15,780 children per year are expected to be diagnosed with cancer
- -Childhood cancer is not one disease, it is made up of more than 12 major types and over 100 subtypes
- -Cancer is the No. 1 killer of kids under 14
- -One out of every 300 males and one out of every 333 females in America will develop cancer before their 20th birthday
- -Approximately every three minutes, a family is told their child has cancer
- -The average age of a child diagnosed with cancer is 6
- -Since 1980, fewer than 10 drugs have been developed for use in children with cancer. Only three drugs have been approved for use in children. Only four additional new drugs have been approved for use by both adults and children.
- -More than 95% of childhood cancer survivors will have a significant health-related issue by the time they are 45 years of age. These health-related issues are side-effects of either cancer or more commonly, the result of its treatment.
- -There are 70 potential life years lost on average when a child dies of cancer compared to 15 potential life years lost for adults. 91,250 children lose their battle to cancer each year.
- -The average cost for a child with cancer is $40,000 PER hospital stay.
Seeing this event come together with three organizations, Humble ISD, two football programs and corresponding communities has blown Bender away.
"It's beyond amazing," Bender said. "It's exceeded all of our wildest expectations. To see the entire community come together, we are even unable to keep up the demand for shirts and tickets just to be a part of this event. It's such a great example of how we are stronger together."
We are done with our amazing door to support childhood cancer!! #GoldFightWin@HumbleISD@HumbleISD_WMSpic.twitter.com/G9vBtNTEAE
— WMS Theatre (@woodcreek_drama) September 12, 2019
The L3 Foundation was launched after Addi's Faith Foundation.
According to Bender, Landon was battling cancer and during that time her foundation was able to help his family.
Landon fought for 21 months, which started with a bump on his right foot. The bump was Rhabdomyosarcoma, which is a rare soft tissue cancer, according to the L3 Foundation website.
On May 21, 2014, Landon lost his courageous battle. After that the L3 Foundation was founded to "work hand in hand with children to raise awareness, support and funding focused on finding the cure to childhood soft tissue cancer".
"We've just been closely aligned ever since," Bender said.
Finally, Mothers Against Cancer has been raising funds for the cancer center at Texas Children's Hospital since 1989.
In 1984, two-year-old Ann Denman lost her battle with leukemia. According to the organization's website "friends of this precious child pondered for several years how to establish a fitting memorial that would live on and help other children facing the same battle. Thus, began Mothers against Cancer and our annual luncheon."
"We are three organizations all within a few miles of each other," Bender said. "Supporting not only families in our area but all over the country. We've been together for a long time. This is just the culmination of years of being in the same circles and doing the same things. Our missions are also very closely aligned.
"We absolutely want to find a cure for pediatric cancer. But until that day comes, we all three organizations are working to support families that are dealing with it right now."
Swimming and Diving Panthers and Lady Panthers are looking to Gold, Fight, Win 👊👊👊as they kick off their season Friday, September 27th vs Summer Creek #GOLDFIGHTWIN#kickingcancer#WeAreKPark@HumbleISD_Ath@HumbleISD@HumbleISD_KPHS@schsswimanddive@GOLDFIGHTWIN1pic.twitter.com/DS6hElr9B6
— K Park Girls Swim (@KPHSGSWIM) September 5, 2019
All month, Humble ISD has been challenging students and staff to be creative, cover social media in Gold, make Gold posters and create #GoldFightWin events within their organizations.
The challenge has been accepted and social media has been filled with #GoldFightWin banners, door decorations and t-shirts.
Geared up to support @HumbleISD and @AddiFaith to fight pediatric cancer. #GoldFightWinpic.twitter.com/WW2tjeO7Bf
— Humble ISD DPS (@HumbleISD_DPS) September 11, 2019
On Thursday morning, select football players, dance team members, cheerleaders and other students from Atascocita and Kingwood high school were visiting children at Texas Children's hospital. The students were playing catch with them, doing coloring activities, taking photos and just spending time with the children.
"It's really cool to see those school's come together and do some good not only from an awareness standpoint but also on the ground at the hospital," Bender said. "The little kids that are here are just eating it up. They love seeing the football players and cheerleaders."
Today we visited Texas Children's Hospital and got to #BeTheLight to many of the children that are fighting the fight! What an inspiration these children are! These kids are our WHY and these kids put the FIGHT in #GOLDFIGHTWINpic.twitter.com/iTs9qxa98u
— GOLD FIGHT WIN (@GOLDFIGHTWIN1) September 12, 2019
Friday's halftime show will be Gold themed as the bands and dance teams for both Atascocita and Kingwood will combine for a mega-gold show.
Once the night, the game and the month of September is over, it doesn't mean the battle against pediatric cancer ends as well.
"I'd just like to encourage people to take this beyond this one game and beyond this one month and see what they can do afterwards," Bender said. "I want people to check out our sites and see where they can plug-in in the future. There's always more to be done and there's always something, big or small, that anybody can do to help be a part of this.
"We're really working hard to make September, childhood cancer awareness and gold as big as prominent as October is with pink and breast cancer," Bender said. "We're working really hard to make September look like that for kids."