Young cheerleaders from Guilford Youth Football & Cheerleading exceeded their $500 goal and raised over $680 for Susan G. Komen Foundation New England during their “Cheer for a Cure” Pink Out in October. The 28 girls, ranging from 1st grade through 6th grade, took turns collecting donations at all the GYFC 6th-8th Grade home football games.
Wearing their pink shirts and bows, the cheerleaders collected from Guilford families as well as visiting families from competing towns, Madison, Monroe, Newington, Shelton, and Southington. “The Cheerleaders are great ambassadors, greeting both our home and visiting team families,” said GYFC President Ken Alberti, “we are so grateful for the spectators’ response; this cause transcends sidelines and this is an especially important initiative for us as we support one of our own.”
The cheerleaders honor their coach, Erica Janosko, again this year raising funds in her name after she shared her experience with breast cancer in a kind and age-appropriate manner. It was an experience that inspired the girls to start collecting last year.
“These girls bring out the best in me and I am so thankful to be able to coach my daughter and for the support from my community,” says Coach Erica, who is still on a regular program to keep the cancer at bay. Her resilience shows in her day-to-day life as a wife and working mom of two athletic kids, Jacob and Aliana.
“This is our second year coaching together and we support each other like family,” said Head Coach and Guilford Cheer Coordinator, Alisha Rayner Romano who along with Jennifer Labbadia-Colon, Brita Rayner Romano, and Tina Messercola organized communications and collections throughout the month of October.
“Last year, terrible weather left the stands mostly empty and the girls were devastated they missed their goal,” said Coach Jenn. “This year they came motivated - volunteering to take turns for as many as 3 games a weekend. Their success lies in their smiles. They just make it hard to say ‘no’.”
Funds raised for Susan G. Komen New England will be earmarked for local use in Connecticut to assist their mission to save lives by meeting the most critical needs in our communities and investigating in breakthrough research to prevent and cure breast cancer.