Football rivals team up for to tackle pediatric cancer

PLEASANT HILL, Mo. -- Rivals wearing purple and blue took the field Friday night in Pleasant Hill. But a majority of people on both the Roosters and Harrisonville sidelines were wearing gold.

That's because there was something bigger at stake than the final score.

Fans were supporting pediatric cancer awareness and students at both schools battling the illness.

“Some days are good some are bad, some times I have chronic pain I have to stay home for two weeks, sometimes I feel like a normal kid,” Alexiea Werner said.

The 14-year-old has battled Ewing's sarcoma for 2 years and she isn’t alone at Pleasant Hill. Classmate Shyann Jellison, 14, has acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

“We knew kids got cancer, but it wasn’t as prevalent to us. You see it and say, 'oh gosh, I feel so bad for that family.' When it was us, it was like, 'oh my gosh,' you find out your kid's getting adult chemo,” her mother Gretchen Jellison said.

As each has battled their illness, they say their friends have stood up for them, and Friday night they did it in a big way.

Harrisonville and Pleasant Hill fans came together at the 50-yard-line for a giant golden group hug.

All facets of the game, from the team, to the cheerleaders, to the band, were part of it.

“Oh my gosh, I love it! I’m so glad people are so supportive that they are helping and cheering us on and stuff,” Werner said.

One of their biggest supporters is Pleasant Hill Athletic Director Jim Oliver. He said he organized the "Gold Out" after realizing 46 kids are diagnosed with cancer everyday, yet only 4 percent of money raised for cancer research goes to them.

He told students during the fundraising efforts selling gold t-shirts and bracelets he’d shave his head during the game. And he made good on that promise.

“I’m not sure my wife is excited about it, but at same time, it’s all about kids and raising some funds for them,” Oliver said.

The first person to grab the shears was Shyann Jellison, with a big smile on her face.