‘Playing for India’ Youth-inspired fundraising effort continues to help others
It was perfect weather for football, but a little cold for India Orman.
Nervous, India huddled inside her coat to watch the Clay Youth Football League game. Her purple hat was pulled down to cover her ears, and there was a slim smile on her face as she waited for the halftime ceremony.
The Boys of Fall held its annual fundraiser on Saturday, and India, 15, who was diagnosed with Stage 3A Hodgkin’s Lymphoma this past summer, was the honoree.
“I think this is great,” she whispered nervously while looking at the silent auction items with her family at the event titled “Playing for India.” “I’m not sure what to say, other than thank you.”
Family members agreed that the experience was very humbling and a bit overwhelming due to the generosity of the community.
Tascha Sampson, who is an organizer of the annual event, said the players and their families are “one big family” and the event is a natural part of that spirit.
In 2013, Tascha’s son, Braxton, her daughter, Bryar, and their friend, Aiden Hayes, decided to do something to help the family of one of their friends whose mother, Rachel Jones, was fighting an uphill battle against stage 3 breast cancer.
“I come every year,” Jones said Saturday while taking a picture with India, fellow breast cancer survivor Beth Erickson (the 2014 recipient) and several of the Boys of Fall players. “This is a terrific community event, for everyone. It’s such a blessing, and to think it all started with these children.”
Last year the event changed gears and decided to help a fellow student fight cancer, Jessee Yocom, and now they’re helping India.
Members of the Northview High School football team helped escort India to the center of the field for a balloon release, football presentation and to sing the “Fight Song.”
“This is an emotional moment for us. We are family,” Tascha said during the ceremony. “We do this in honor of all families dealing with cancer because, when you mess with one; you got us all.”
For a girl who is not really a fan of football, India became the star of the moment — having her picture taken by and with her new football family, and there were hugs of support, too, lots of them.
“It leaves you speechless,” India’s father Troy said at the event. “The CYFL should be very proud of their fundraising program. The hard work and generosity of all those involved is greatly appreciated. This is simply amazing.”
For more information on how to support or donate to The Boys of Fall fundraising events, contact organizer Tascha Sampson at 812-249-2137.