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Davis: Playing for a unifying purpose
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At the midpoint of the high school basketball season little is known other than which teams have been good so far.

Region rivals and state-ranked teams will spend the week jockeying for position and bragging rights, trying to maintain a winning season or turnaround one gone sour.

But for one night in Hall County, despite bitter rivals North Hall and Gainesville facing off, the game will be less about an outcome, less about maintaining a record or turning one around, less about standings.

Saturday night, the Lady Trojans and Trojans, Lady Red Elephants and Red Elephants will don pink in honor of those stricken, those recovered from and those lost to breast cancer.

Donations will be collected, special items will be sold and the proceeds will benefit an organization here in town aptly named Glory, Hope & Life.

For those who will be in attendance Saturday night, you’ll question giving, as everyone does in these times. For those who will be in attendance Saturday night, keep reading for the answer as to why you should.

The non-profit organization encompasses three once separate cancer funds: For Her Glory, Harvest of Hope and Embracing Life.
The latter two are products of The Longstreet Clinic and anonymous donors respectively.

Harvest of Hope is a project of The Longstreet Cancer Center there to educate those with cancer about the disease and the best methods of not only fighting it, but living with it. Embracing Life sends cancer patients with terminal diagnoses on once-in-a-lifetime trips that include, among others, Hawaii and an Alaskan Cruise.

The first fund, however, has quite the setup story.

Judy Piotrowski  battled cancer for nine years, but shouldn’t have had to for more than a few months as her original diagnosis gave her only six to live.

Piotrowski’s fight took her hair, her energy but didn’t touch her will or her willingness to, while battling, serve a God she so adored. She questioned why she was still alive, knowing it was for a greater purpose than simply displaying a fighting spirit.

She got her answer when she, along with husband Scott and best friend Jackie Cooley, overheard a conversation at The Shoppe in The Longstreet Clinic between a store manager and an insurance company that wouldn’t provide a wig for a young lady with cancer: Piotrowski knew what she was supposed to do.

Drawing inspiration from 1 Corinthians 11:15, in which a woman’s hair is described as her glory, Piotrowski formed For Her Glory to buy cancer patients who otherwise couldn’t afford it, wigs and other things necessary to maintain their dignity through their fight.

The fund was rightly established four days before Piotrowski passed away.

“She was a trooper,” said Cooley, who continued For Her Glory and was an integral part in the three funds becoming one. “She was such an inspiration to a lot of people along the way and because of her, we’re able to help other cancer patients.”

And Saturday night, North Hall and Gainesville will play a part in ensuring that Cooley, along with the others involved in Glory, Hope & Life will continue to be able to help.

“I think it’s awesome, it’s absolutely wonderful,” Cooley said of Gainesville and North Hall’s efforts. “We’ve always said that the fund is not in our hands, but in God’s hands. We turn a corner and this Pink Out is there to help us.

“It’s so wonderful that these schools are teaching our young people how to give and the meaning of giving.”