Real Men Wear Pink: St. Teresa raising awareness for cancer vict - Wandtv.com, NewsCenter17, StormCenter17, Central Illinois News-

Real Men Wear Pink: St. Teresa raising awareness for cancer victims

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Friday night St. Teresa High School is hosting its annual Real Men Wear Pink football game. It's an event raising awareness for cancer victims, and three young athletes are playing a game that has meaning bigger than football.

Hayden Athey, Chris Isom and Colton Kramer share a bond that goes beyond the football field. Each one has had a family member die from or battle cancer. Friday may just be another night under the lights, but they'll be putting it all out on the line because for these three boys, it's not about what they're playing for, it's about who they're playing for.

Hayden Athey was wearing pink for his mom.

"I never thought that she was going to die," Athey said.

She lost the battle to lung cancer in February.

"Now that she's gone, it's just giving me more meaning like I want her to look down on me and say that, 'I'm proud of you,'" he described.

Last season was the last time she ever saw her son play.

"Every game, every single game she was always screaming her head off," Athey described with a smile. "Everybody could always hear her. That was always very special."

And now there is a special day to remember those who have been affected by cancer: St. Teresa's Real Men Wear Pink football game.

"This is a game I probably always play my hardest because my mom fought so hard to get through her situation," said senior Chris Isom.

Isom wears pink for his mom who beat breast cancer. Colton Kramer wears pink for his aunt who also beat breast cancer and his dad who died from cancer his first day of high school.

"I miss him a lot," Kramer said.

The three boys have used football to get them through the hard times.

"It just frees your mind," Kramer said. "And what you're thinking about is like the next down, who you're going to block, who you're going to tackle, that kind of stuff, so it really does help."

It's an unbreakable brotherhood, much needed when families have been broken by a disease.

"Whenever I'm in the game, you'll definitely see me going 110 percent," Athey said.

It's a game against cancer that the players will fight to win for loved ones.

Friday night teammates will also be remembering and playing for Adam Carter. He was a former St. Teresa football player. He would have been a sophomore this year but died of cancer a couple of years ago.

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