MAYFIELD HEIGHTS – Football fans at one high school game were rooting for more than just their team on the field. They were also cheering on a brave classmate in her battle with brain cancer.
“We’re wearing gold tonight in an effort to ‘go gold’ and support Mayfield High School student Kayla Hoover,” said the game announcer before the match-up.
The Friday night football game between the Mayfield Wildcats and the Massillon-Jackson Polar Bears was dedicated to 14-year old Kayla Hoover.
Kayla, who was invited onto the field for the coin toss, is fighting to win her battle with a cancerous brain tumor.
“I’ve been feeling good because I’ve been off my chemo pills for a couple days,” said Kayla, who is a freshman at Mayfield.
“She’s dealing with a brain tumor that’s very rare, she was diagnosed when she was 10 and she’s 14 now. She’s been to the Cleveland Clinic for an operation, she’s been at St. Jude’s having operations and back at the Clinic again,” said her mother, Jennifer Radicella.
Mayfield’s cheerleading squad had already discussed helping out a charity this fall. They chose St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
“They mention Kayla and then we thought what about a way to incorporate a girl who is in our own community, who we know has been fighting so hard, so we wanted to dedicate the game to Kayla and to all the children who are fighting at St. Jude’s,” said senior Alexandra Gibbons.
“It’s just like a great feeling, knowing that we’re just making a different in someone’s life, who’s just fought for so much,” said senior Jessica Grzybowski.
“I love it and I think it’s a great community for doing this,” said Kayla.
The cheerleaders have been fundraising all week. They’re selling t-shirts, holding raffles and silent auctions; anything to help Kayla get well and return to school.
“I want to be a cheerleader, I want to be a baseball player and a basketball player,” Kayla said.
“It’s just really keeping her spirits up, she’s such a strong girl,” said her mother.
“Thank you for the support, and I’m gonna fight this,” said Kayla.
The students will be painting ten dollar mascot logos on driveways Saturday morning.
They say a portion of the money they raise for St. Jude’s will go directly to Kayla’s family to help support them.