The familiar red and black of Lawrence High School is about to give way to a sea of pink for the Lions’ upcoming football game again Olathe North, all thanks to the drive and commitment of student leaders and their growing band of followers.
Their collective goal: Show and build support for teacher Shannon Wilson and her fight against breast cancer by encouraging everyone filling the stadium to wear pink shirts, carry pink balloons, sport pink buttons and otherwise “go pink,” just as Breast Cancer Awareness Month approaches its own halftime.
“It’s unbelievable, all the support,” said Wilson, a day before her latest chemotherapy session at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. “I can’t believe all the compassion and the support from these kids. They’ve been so cool. They tell me not to worry about stuff I shouldn’t be worrying about. They’ve just been a huge part of my support system through this. …
“I really feel like they’ve helped my recovery. It’s overwhelming.”
Members of the LHS Student Council are organizing the “pink out,” with several events and efforts leading up to the big game Friday night:
• A tie-dye party after school in Wilson’s classroom. Students and others will turn white shirts into various shades of pink. Cost is $5 to buy and dye a shirt, or $1 to dye your own.
• Other pink T-shirts will be preprinted, featuring “Lawrence High School” and a Chesty Lion sporting a pink ribbon. Those will be sold for $5 at the game.
• Pink buttons will be sold for $1, also at the game.
The sales aren’t really sales, but donations. Proceeds will be sent in Wilson’s honor to Susan G. Komen for the Cure, which finances research, education and awareness in the fight against breast cancer.
At least 500 pink balloons will be given to fans entering the game, to be released at kickoff.
“It’s all to raise awareness and to show Mrs. Wilson that we support her and we’re thinking of her,” said Hannah Hall, student body president. “She’s a great lady. A lot of people love Mrs. Wilson. It’s a great cause.”
Because Wilson — who teaches classes in nutrition, fashion, textiles and creative foods — has been teaching at LHS for 16 years, and has watched four of her own children graduate as Chesty Lions, she understands the significance of the red and the black and all that goes along with it.
It’s just time to mix in a little — OK, a lot — of pink.
“It’s a version of red — a washed-out red — so we’ll do it for this cause,” said Wilson, who admits that she proudly bleeds red and black. “We want to get the normal spirit of Lawrence High, which is tremendous, to go into this cause. It’s wonderful.”
Rumor has it that coach Dirk Wedd might even sport a pink shirt on the sideline, Wilson said.
“I asked him,” Wilson said, “and he gave me the nod. I think he’ll do it.”