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Wisconsin Rapids youth football hosts breast cancer awareness game

Published: Oct. 17, 2020 at 6:09 PM CDT
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WISCONSIN RAPIDS, Wis. (WSAW) - It’s a typical Saturday in Wisconsin Rapids, with middle school football on the field. However, one typical supporter is not on the sidelines.

“She used to come out and support him at his football games and you can tell he’s missing her,” Football Coach Chris Springer explained.

In December, Felicia VanLysal died after a 9 year battle with breast cancer.

“She was amazing. Absolutely amazing. She is the strongest person I know,” her sister Venessa Jicha explained.

Through those 9 years, Van Lysol fought a tough fight. She helped establish an angel fund through St. Michael’s Hospital, which provides money to those who need mammograms.

“She never let breast cancer define her as a person,” her other sister Miriam Sievers explained

That’s why Sievers son and VanLysal’s nephew Nathaniel had the idea to honor her. He wanted to do so wearing pink and continuing the support she started.

“We were driving in the car on the way to football practice and he thought we could maybe wear pink socks for his team game,” Sievers said.

It started with the pink socks, then it turned to hats, sweatshirts and donations after the team embraced it.

“To have him bring up that idea and have his teammates jump all over it and really in support of that---it’s kind of a special to see a bunch of 5th and 6th graders get after a cause like this,” Springer said.

“It was just so good to feel that complete strangers wanted to support my son and our family and the new quest we have,” Sievers said with a smile.

That support came within two weeks, when the idea was first brought up. Sweatshirts were made overnight, and both teams showed support.

“It’s amazing that opposing teams that don’t even know us are raising money and supporting a cause,” Sievers said.

On a chilly afternoon in Wisconsin Rapids, touchdowns were scored and money was raised.

Maybe Felicia is on the sidelines after all.

“She is with us no matter what. No matter where we go-no matter what we do. She’s with us,” Jicha emotionally said.

To make a donation to the angel fund, you can go to this link and click the dropdown option “Angel Fund for Breast Cancer”

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