Blue Devil football team donates $1,000 to cancer research


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The Bellwood-Antis football team donated $1,000 to Girls Night Out to help fund cancer research in recognition of October as National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Blue Devils senior end TJ Wyland and his family are one of the many families in the Bellwood-Antis community impacted by cancer.

“Both of my paps died from cancer, my mom battled breast cancer, and now I have an aunt who has breast cancer. So my family has been affected by this disease,” TJ commented.

It’s players like TJ who often wear pink towels and socks at their high school football games, but the Blue Devils are superstitious and have almost never strayed  from their usual Friday attire. So when TJ went to Coach Nick Lovrich with the idea of promoting breast cancer awareness, pink socks were an immediate no.

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B-A’s football team has been wearing pink ribbon decals on its helmets to recognize breast cancer awareness.

But the idea of donating peaked the coach’s interest.

Instead of buying Nike or Under Armour merchandise that just so happens to be pink, Coach Lovrich wanted Bellwood to do its own thing by making a straight donation from the team to a local organization.

He challenged the players to bring in a $5 donation and had the Quarterback Club match each dollar.

“I told them that doing a straight donation to a group would be better than buying all the gear because not all of the money spent on the pink gear goes to the cause,” said Coach Lovrich, “Pink socks would cost somewhere around $10, so I thought if I could get the football players to donate $5 and have our booster club match that $5 we would have a nice donation to help the cause.”

When Mr. Lovrich presented the idea to the parents in the Quarterback Club, TJ’s mother, Steph Wyland, was very proud.

“Coach said he found this to be a teachable moment, and the team put together this drive to support our local breast cancer fighters,” Steph said.

It is nice to see a group come together to help a cause in our community just like we come together to play a football game on Friday nights.”

— Coach Lovrich

Mr. Lovrich contacted Sherry Delgrosso, a big advocate to breast cancer awareness in the Blair County area, to determine which organizations would be suitable to donate to. She suggested Altoona’s Girls Night Out organization.

The G.N.O organization donates to hospitals in the area, so the support from the team would be felt locally. Coach Lovrich and the team felt that the cause was important to them considering it could affect anyone in their lives.

“All of them have women in their lives presently and in the future who are important to them and do so much for them,” said Coach Lovrich.

Instead of the pink merchandise, Bellwood company Josh Beaver Signs made and donated pink stickers for the team to wear on its helmets to show their support.

The movement was not limited to the team either. A anonymous donor from the community noticed the work the boys were putting into the drive and donated extra money to the cause.

In all, the team and the community were able to raise $1,000 for Girls Night Out.

The relationship between the football team and the community has always been a strong one, and Coach Lovrich believed that this project only made it stronger.

“I am very proud of the participation of the team in this project. It is nice to see a group come together to help a cause in our community just like we come together to play a football game on Friday nights,” said Coach Lovrich. “We, the B-A varsity football team and coaches, did this for all those females in our lives who are special to us.”