Monday, January 07, 2008

Remembering Sara Keene

If you remember, Georgia Tech players wore orange wristbands during their bowl game. Those were to honor Sara Keene, a friend and classmate at Georgia Tech of Djay Jones. In case you don't remember, Sara was battling cancer. It really was a nice story - check it out.

Football players and the Alpha Delta Pi sorority staged the Cookout for Keene on Nov. 12 on the lawn near the Tech Tower. Jones arranged for autographed footballs and other souvenirs to be given away in a raffle. Quarterback Taylor Bennett helped cook hot dogs and hamburgers. Running back Tashard Choice signed autographs and posed for photos. Eighty or 90 football players showed up, said Alpha Delta Pi's Caitlin Hanson, the event planner.

That's where Keene and Jones finally met. He gave her a big hug, and they talked, and they got their picture taken, she in her pink hat and yellow sweater, with a filtration mask hanging around her neck, he in a white Georgia Tech football strength program shirt, both smiling so naturally you'd bet your bottom dollar they weren't saying "cheese."

They didn't have to feign happiness.

"I was so blown away," Keene said.

The cookout drew about 660 students and raised more than $4,000 for the Shirlock Foundation, which provides financial assistance to families of college students who have leukemia. It is named after Jonathan Shirlock, a Tech student who died of leukemia in 2006. Jones wears orange rubber Shirlock Foundation bands on both wrists, along with two Tech football wristbands.

Why do I bring this up?

Early in the morning on January 3rd, Sara Keene lost her battle with cancer. Here is her online family journal, where you can read more. If you feel led, I encourage readers to donate to the Shirlock Foundation, which helps to ease the financial burden faced by families of college students who have been diagnosed with leukemia. There is a link on the site.
Rest in peace Sara.