Slaughter Elementary School guidance counselor Tracy Newton was overwhelmed with gratitude as several senior football players from McKinney Boyd High School presented her with a check on Friday afternoon in her room at Slaughter. The donation is part of a community project, the McKinney Boyd High School Community Project, that was initiated by Boyd parent Jennifer Santos last fall.
MISD Athletic Director Shawn Pratt and McKinney Boyd Athletic Coordinator and Head Football Coach Don Drake watched as Daylon Markham, Alex Shaheen, Paine Matiscik and Taylor Fann received hugs from Newton, as she tearfully thanked each of them for the donation from the McKinney Boyd High School Community Project.
The goal of the Community Project, which began with the varsity football team in the fall of 2012, is to raise funds to support local residents who are struggling with active stages of cancer and its effects. The funds are given to enhance the lifestyle of the individual or family. Unlike most other groups that raise funds for cancer awareness, research and treatment, 100 percents of the funds raised by MBHS will be given directly to local cancer patients.
More than $10,000 was raised as a result of last fall's "Let em' Run 5K Fun Run", from the proceeds of the sale of purple T-shirts, and from donations.
Santos said that part of her vision was "to provide an opportunity for McKinney Boyd’s football teams to demonstrate that although being part of a winning football team feels good, there are also important values in life such as family, kindness, honor, and service."
Coach Drake siad, "Each of our varsity players nominated the person they wanted to honor on that particular night (at the Boyd vs Allen football game Oct. 28) We also took nominations of individuals who were battling cancer within our own community. I'm very pleased at how this all got started and I think in the future, as more people understand how this works, we will be able to help even more families."
Newton, who was nominated by Markham, a former student, has been battling cancer since 2001.
Markham said he nominated Newton because always she told him to "be friends with everybody", and he has always remembered that.
"I will use the money for a hairpiece," Newton said smiling. "I'm taking a chemo drug that is making my hair fall out. And I will use the rest of money to pay off some of my medical bills. Because of my double pneumonia in September, I was in ICU for four and a half weeks and those bills have piled up,"
Newton said. "I cannot thank you guys enough because being a single person, I live from pay check to pay check. I have done nothing but cry since my hair's been falling out. No matter how much everyone tells me how cute I look, I don't feel cute."
Drake said, "We hope that next year is even bigger and better. I talk to these guys (football players) all the time about life isn't about what you get, it's what you give."
Newton said through a few more tears, "I thank you from the bottom of my heart."
Top photo: From Left, Athletic Director, Shawn Pratt, Paine Matiscik, Alex Shaheen, Tracy Newton, Daylon Markham and his little sister, Coach Drake, Donna Ferguson, and Daylon's mom, Christi.
Photos courtesy of Jennifer Santos