It’s not a color Canton parents are used to seeing on their young players but the blue jerseys worn by the U12 Girls Travel Soccer team Saturday signaled support for a local mom and educator battling colon cancer.
her June diagnosis Dawn Healy Gibbons has received an incredible outpouring of community support.
have started meal chains, transported her three kids to various activities, sent supporting messages and so much more. It means the world, Gibbons said.
“I just want to get out how proud I am to be a Canton resident,” she said.
Saturday was the latest example of that support. For the month of October, Gibbons' daughter Molly and 16 teammates will wear the blue jerseys — the color of colon cancer awareness.
Organized by other mothers on the team, Gibbons found out about the gesture when she was accidentally included on an e-mail chain about the surprise plans. She said she is actually glad she was prepared ahead of time for the emotional day.
I saw the email I cried so hard I could barely breathe,” Gibbons said.
the girls received the jerseys Thursday, they were completely quiet, focused
and respectful. They ended by giving Molly a group hug.
were so excited to support Molly,” said team manager Heather Wahlquist Neeley.
”That moment they were one.”
They kept that momentum going Saturday with a 4-0 win over Simsbury. The opposing team wore blue ribbons in their hair as well.
It was in June when Gibbons and her husband Kevin were shocked by the diagnosis.
She had been experiencing stomach pain and one doctor opted to have her do a colonoscopy as a precaution. Cancer wasn’t even on her radar.
It turned out it had been there about a year.
She went through surgery in early July and began chemotherapy in August, an ongoing process.
Gibbons will be the first to tell you it’s been a difficult road but she remains thankful for many things.
is her full-time job as a special education paraprofessional at Canton
Intermediate School. She goes to work as many days as she can.
therapy for me,” she said.
other method of therapy is the community.
received a taste of that when she participated in Spin for Nancy, a fundraiser
for Nancy Richard, a local woman battling an uphill battle against an aggressive
form of breast cancer that has spread to other areas of her body.
Richard family has been the recipient of home-cooked meals, ride arrangements
for the kids and much more from the community.
Soon people were doing the same for Gibbons.
“Part of my medicine are the people in this town,” she said. “I want people to know how appreciative the patient is. It helps us every day.”
Gibbons also wants people to know that her cancer is not heredity but rather environmental but of unknown cause. She’s spreading the word for people to get colonoscopies.
“It doesn’t necessarily have to run in your family,” she said. “It doesn’t discriminate.”
Gibbons is also proud of the girls. It's also a chance for them to learn to care about others, what's important in life and that it's not always easy.
"I think it's such a great lesson," she said.