When the Friday night lights go on for high school football games, fans and athletes alike don their school colors to show support for their team.
But during last week’s game for a high school in Palo Cedro, California, another color was on everyone’s mind: orange.
As the Foothill High School football team poured onto the field before last Friday’s game, each player placed a single orange rose at the feet of cheerleader Ashley Adamietz, a high school senior who was diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia just last month, according to CNN.
At the end of the game’s opening ceremony, the cheerleader had 57 roses sitting in front of her ― one for every player on the team.
Since her diagnosis, Adamietz has been going through daily chemotherapy to treat the leukemia, KRCR News Channel 7 reported.
Senior football player Ryan Caetano organized the touching gesture to show Adamietz what she means to their school community and to recognize the challenges that she faces.
“She’s part of the Cougar family, so why not let her know that we’re all here for her,” Caetano told KRCR News. “I wanted to let that be known to everybody, especially to her, for what she’s going through.”
Orange, the color used in the football team’s touching gesture, is often used to spread awareness for leukemia, a cancer of the white blood cells. And the roses came at a significant time: The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society has dedicated September as Blood Cancer Awareness Month.
The footage of the special moment gave momentum to #AshleyStrong, a Twitter hashtag people are using to show their support for the cheerleader. It also gave rise to a crowdfunding page collecting donations for Adamietz and her treatments.
Friday’s act of support even inspired a rival school, Red Bluff High School, to forgo their own school colors and wear orange during an upcoming game against Foothill High School, in honor of Adamietz.
After showering Adamietz with roses, the Cougars went on to win the game, Evan Schreiber, the reporter who filmed the video above, told The Huffington Post.
But the real winner was Adamietz.
“I was shocked, overwhelmed and over all speechless,” the cheerleader said of the show of support on her private Twitter account, obtained by ESPN. “I can’t thank you enough to both teams for making my first game one to remember and making me cry tears of joy.”
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