When young football players charged the field this month in New Baltimore, they scored big for cancer awareness.
Players, cheerleaders and families in the Anchor Bay Buccaneers Youth Football League raised money during a pink game Oct. 7 against the Mt. Clemens Barracudas at Anchor Bay Middle School North.
Giving on game day
A bake sale, raffles and other donations led to a total of $2,275 that will be split between two families affected by cancer. In addition, the Bob McGuire Memorial Foundation will pay some utility expenses for the families. Check presentations from the league will be Nov. 5 at Zuccaro's Banquets and Catering in Chesterfield Township, said township resident Audra Ford, Buccaneers secretary and fund-raising coordinator.
There are approximately 140 local players and cheerleaders in the Buccaneers, ranging in age from 8 to 14. The boys wore pink socks and helmet accents while the girls donned pink pom poms, leggings and shirts. The color represents breast cancer awareness for the month of October. However, the league donated to people who have been affected by other types of the disease and the overall purpose was to raise awareness for all kinds of cancer.
Although the Barracudas took the game 36-6, the Buccaneers proved victorious in their charitable giving.
“We’re a community-based organization," Ford said. "We're a 501C3 who are just keeping kids busy and teaching the fundamentals of team sports and we’re also an organization that gives back to the community."
'It means everything...'
Lisa Decarlo suffers from an extremely rare bile duct cancer that has led her to undergo seven different forms of chemotherapy in the last three years. Decarlo, 49 of Lenox Township, is currently on leave of absence from her job as a nurse anesthetist at St. John Hospital in Detroit due to the heavy dosage she's receiving, she said.
Initially, her sickness was thought to be pancreatic cancer until she was properly diagnosed with cancer affecting gallblader tube drainage, Decarlo said.
"I have stage three and I was given six months to live. That was three years ago," she said.
The mother of four grown children, Decarlo is now raising her 11-year-old granddaughter Jade Wolfe who is on the Buccaneers varsity cheer team. She was touched the pink game benefited her and raised awareness for cancer patients.
"It means everything because cancer rips your life apart in all aspects," she said.
Helping with Noah's treatments
Eleven-year-old Noah Costa of Washington Township was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma Dec. 18, 2007, his mother Anne Costa said of the aggressive childhood cancer.
Knowing of the family's journey, Amy and John Isola, who have a son also named John on the Buccaneers' junior varsity team, nominated the Costas for the donation. The two families attend the same church, Stoney Creek Community Church in Washington Township, and their sons are friends.
"It's very heart-warming that these people who don't even know us would open up their hearts," Costa said of the hundreds who attended the fund-rasing game in New Baltimore.
Noah undergoes regular treatments in New York. His mother said the donation they will receive from the league will help pay for those travel expenses.
Today, Noah is displaying no evidence of disease and spends his free time playing Legos and soccer like so many other boys his age.
"If you were to see him, you would never know he had cancer," his mother said, adding that he cares more about helping others around him. "If you were sick, he'd be more concerned about you than him."
For more information about the Anchor Bay Buccaneers, visit www.abbuccaneers.com. Read Lisa Decarlo's blog at www.gallbladdercancersurvivor.com or visit www.bandofparents.org for information on neuroblastoma.