Rival High Schools Band Together To Support Sick Player
The Benton Community High School girl's basketball team accomplished something for the first time this past Monday, (Feb-27) at the class 3A state basketball tournament. Benton Community won for the first time in their 5 trips to the state tournament, beating the 5th seed Des Moines Christian. While the win is exciting for the team and the fans, there's an even bigger story as the team moves forward.
Fans of Benton might've noticed something a little bit different with the team's normal blue and gold uniforms. Every player added an orange bow to their hair and orange shoelaces on their basketball shoes. The players and fans all wanted to show support for their teammate, Tatum Schroeder, who recently received some horrible news.
KCRG reports, Tatum is a sophomore player on the Benton girl's basketball team and she recently suffered a concussion during a game. After her symptoms lasted longer than normal, she made a trip to the emergency room and was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia.
AML is a type of cancer where myeloid cells interfere with the production of normal white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Symptoms may include fatigue, recurrent infections, and bruising easily.
Jeff Zittergruen is the head coach of the Benton girl's basketball team and he told KCRG, it's been really hard for the team.
To go from thinking that it might be that, to the worst-case scenario with the diagnosis, it was definitely tough. It’s been tough for our girls. You have to grow up quite a bit when you see a teammate who is really in a spot where she’s going to have a really, big fight ahead of her.
Tatum sadly had to watch her team's first win from a hospital bed, as she is receiving treatments at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Her teammates are wearing orange headbands and shoelaces as orange is the color of leukemia awareness. The team and fans wanted to show their support to their teammate, friend, and classmate, to remind her that they have her back.
Emma Townsley is a junior guard on the team and she told KCRG,
It’s not good to be in that situation at all, but we have her back. We’re here for her and just hoping she can keep fighting.
It's not just the Benton Community Tatum is getting support from either. Benton Community's rival, Vinton-Shellsburg, who they will play in the semifinals of the state tournament, also showed support for Tatum. They created t-shirts to help join the two communities together. There's something inspiring about these communities, separated by about 14 miles, who are able to join together in something much more important than basketball.
Jenna Twedt is a senior guard on the Benton team, and she told KCRG,
At the end of the day, basketball is basketball, but seeing everyone come together and show their support for her is really cool.
There is a fundraiser dedicated to Tatum Schroeder for anyone who would like to learn more about this young woman, her story, and how you can help her fight against AML. Various t-shirts and wristbands are available for purchase and the profits will go directly toward Tatum.
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