Washington’s fifth-graders received the the Darrell W. Judon Sportsmanship Trophy honoring attitude and pride.

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Washington’s fifth-grade flag football players helped generate awareness of breast cancer within the Evanston community. With the entire football team behind them, four players read a statement, and each player presented a team photo to Carol Flanagan, RN, MSN, OCN and clinical coordinator for the LIFE Center Survivorship Program with NorthShore University Health System. The team photos were 30 unique stills in which each player posed with an “I Play For You” ribbon honoring local patients who suffer from the disease.

“We hope our pictures will bring your patients a little hope for the future and that maybe our actions will become a tradition. But most importantly, we hope that maybe, if only for a few minutes, we can make the people you help smile during this difficult time. We are pleased to present you with our team pictures, and thank you for what you do,” said Evelyn Schultz, Thunderbird player #29. 

This honor came after a month-long learning experience for these players as they began to understand why Chicago Bears and Northwestern Wildcat football players were wearing pink throughout October. 

“At first we thought that wearing the color pink was cool. But we have learned a lot this football season in how we can make a difference in someone’s life at a time they need our support the most,” said Evan Nesbitt, Thunderbird #3. 

While incorporating pink into the team’s own uniforms, head coach Chris Nesbitt reached out to Ms. Flanagan and arranged for an individual patient/partner for each player, a patient these players would consider as they highlighted the fight against breast cancer.

Ms. Flanagan remarked how much she and her patients appreciated the players’ efforts to show they care and appreciate that the players continue to raise awareness about early screenings. As a token of her thanks, she presented each player with a pink football rally towel and breast cancer pin. The presentation took place during the team’s usual practice time.

In addition to the photo presentation, Ray Doerner, CPRP program manager for the Evanston Recreation Department, awarded Washington’s fifth-graders the Darrell W. Judon Sportsmanship Trophy. 

Now in its 21st year, the trophy is presented annually to one elementary school to honor the attitude, pride and leadership they showed this season. Washington has received the honor four times.