Pop Warner in pink

Shelton Pop Warner Football & Cheerleading raised $1,800 for breast cancer awareness at its annual event Oct 21.

As is the case each year, the Vikings’ last home games in October are a celebration and fund-raiser for this important cause. Money was raised through donations, basket raffles, baked goods, and ticket sales.

“The battle against breast cancer and raising awareness is always close to our hearts at Shelton Pop Warner” said President Tim Monteleone. “Having lost our president, Grace Searles, to the disease in 2004, we work hard to raise money and keep her memory alive. Our annual Breast Cancer Awareness Day allows us to accomplish both of those goals.”

The Vikings play their home games at Gracie Field, named for the late president.

Grace’s daughter, Taylor Searles, gave a heartfelt speech honoring her mother. “Taylor’s tribute to her mom was the high point of the day for me,” said Vice President Mike Boyce, who lost his mother to cancer at age 15. “It was a very touching moment and Taylor did a great job eloquently putting the day in perspective for the hushed crowd.”

Money raised will be split evenly between two foundations, Beautifully Pink and SWIM Across the Sound.

“This year was especially important to us after learning that one of our former cheerleaders, Julie Hall, was diagnosed with the disease,” said Montelone. “At only 24 years old, Julie has just begun her long battle. Beautifully Pink was founded to help offset the massive medical bills that she will incur during her fight.”

St. Vincent’s SWIM Across the Sound is a charitable, grassroots organization run by St. Vincent’s Medical Center Foundation. Recently celebrating its 20th anniversary, the SWIM has a unique niche, providing cancer education, screening and prevention programs at low or no cost for the elderly and underserved.

“Each year we work with SWIM to have the mobile digital mammography unit at Breast Cancer Awareness Day,” said Erin Candler, SPW treasurer. “This year, for the first time, they performed screenings for individuals that had pre-scheduled appointments.”

Radio Station 99.9 The Star also joined SWIM at the event.

“Cheerleaders were decked out in pink accessories, while the football players donned pink socks and more,” said Matt Civale, vice president of football. “The center of the field was even painted with a giant pink ribbon which has become synonymous with the cause.”

Shelton Pop Warner is in its 47th year and is part of Southern Connecticut Pop Warner, which includes teams from 20 southern Connecticut towns. The Vikings compete against teams from Derby, Seymour, Trumbull, Stratford, Fairfield, and Milford. For more information visit sheltonpopwarner.com.