BY WENDI REARDON PRICE
Clarkston News Sports Writer
Junior Jake Billette slipped his helmet on Monday morning, already looking forward to the gridiron heroes’ third game in the season when they host Bloomfield Hills for Football for a Cure, Sept. 8.
During the game he will wear a jersey and play for his mother, Linda Billette.
“Football for a Cure this year is especially special because my mom was diagnosed with cancer,” Jake shared, adding cancer hadn’t effected his life as much as it had others.
His mom was diagnosed with adenocystic carcinoma cancer and he explained it was a salivary gland at the base of her tongue.
“People automatically assume it’s smoking or tobacco use, but the doctor said it was just pure bad luck,” Jake said. “It’s a rare and slow growing cancer. It doesn’t respond very well to chemotherapy so she had to have her whole tongue removed.”
He added he has seen the negative effects cancer has on a family, but he has experienced the positive in which it brings everyone together.
“There’s a job to be done,” Jake said. “It’s for the person who got diagnosed with the sickness to be able to fight for them if they are too sick to fight. You have loved ones to fight for you.”
Linda went through six weeks of radiation and finished her last bout of it three weeks ago.
“She is talking, eating and making a great recovery,” he shared. “She’s been fatigued. She’s a fighter – she’s hanging in there.”
During Football for a Cure each player will wear a memorial jersey, displaying names of loved ones affected by cancer. Jake explained it was very important to him to play for his mom during the annual event.
“I feel honored to play for my mother,” he said. “If a family hasn’t been affected by cancer God bless them. I hope it never happens to them. It has a lot of negative effects on families.”
He shared it’s not the first time someone wore a jersey in her honor. Teammate and friend Keagan King wore his jersey for Linda.
“For lacrosse’s Game for a Cure, a family friend played for us which was important to me, too,” he said. “People in the community will fight for you and be there for you with support.”
Jake invites the Clarkston and Bloomfield Hills communities to come out for the annual event which proceeds benefit Karmanos Cancer Institute in both communities. The proceeds help patients with non-medical expenses.
T-shirts and jerseys are currently available. The cost to purchase a commemorative jersey is $100. T-shirts are available for $15 at the Karmanos Cancer Institute at McLaren Clarkston at 5680 Bow Pointe Dr.
“It’s a great game,” Jake said. “It recognizes all these great families in this great community. It brings us closer together. The support is huge from the community.”
For more information or to volunteer for the event, please email ClarkstonFootballforaCure@gmail.com or call 248-922-6606.