Student-athletes win in All-Sing
Posted: Friday, April 16, 2010 7:39 am
Proceeds from the singing competition went to the Obion County Hometown Walk of Hope so the organization could help its own battle cancer.
Abell and 21 others donned Lion King t-shirts and painted flares on their faces to resemble the Lion and Captain Skyhawk. The group added a little choreography to a five-song set – Circle of Life, I Just Can’t Wait to Be King, Be Prepared, Hakuna Matata; Can You Feel the Love Tonight – and claimed the Best of Show award.
“We all had a lot of fun and winning Best of Show made it all worthwhile,” Abell said.
Phil Dane, UT Martin’s director of intercollegiate athletics, put the group together. Landing Abell and four of her equestrian teammates was simple compared to recruiting a couple of football players and a men’s basketball player.
“I knew this was for a good cause,” Abell said. “I understand it because it was happening at my house. My dad was diagnosed with a cancerous brain tumor in October 2009, so as a family we all had to pitch in and do something to help my mom.”
Abell, one of four children, was in charge of getting her dad, P.D., to radiation this past year.
Others in the group have similar stories about how cancer has affected their families, but none could match the story of Lorraine Gossett, one of the directors for the Obion County Hometown Walk of Hope. Both of her parents plus her son all battled cancer.
“We stopped looking at the Walk of Hope as a money maker and started looking at it as a ministry,” Gossett said.
Gossett and more than 300 UT Martin student-athletes attended one of the group’s last practices Thursday night in the University Center. After listening to the group sing, Dane challenged each and every athlete to pledge a donation to the Walk of Hope. “I know it’s going to be hard for some of you to go to All-Sing, but here is your chance to help. Write down your pledge and we will make a contribution to the Walk of Hope on top of what All-Sing generates,” he said.
When the math was done, UT Martin’s student-athletes pledged more than $200 to help the Walk of Hope’s effort to reduce the financial burden put on individuals during their battles with cancer. All of the money raised by the Walk of Hope is directly funneled back to Obion County cancer patients to assist them in whatever they may need financially.
“I noticed they all paid close attention,” Gossett said. “They were moved, and some even cried.”
This year’s All-Sing with its theme “A Night of Music from the Movies” generated more than $3,200 for the Hometown Walk of Hope.
Most of the songs Abell and the student-athletes sang were songs they grew up with, but one, “The Circle of Life,” had special meaning for the sophomore English rider from Nindle, Va.
“No matter what the situation is, life goes on and you have to handle it,” Abell said.