Growing our Horizon - Plankinton Naming Campaign

Tigers Step Up 2 Cancer – “I almost lost my biggest fan…”

“To the ten…to the five…touchdown Hofer!”

As Michael Hofer, #14, breaks through his opponents to put another six points on the board for the Howard Tiger Football team with seconds left on the clock, a number of cheers can be heard from around the stadium.  As you look past the sea of fans in orange and black, you will find one fan, in particular, that was nervously pacing the edge of the field and is now beaming with pride. She’s the fan that Michael couldn’t imagine playing this game or going through life without – his mother.

Four years ago, Michael heard the words he never expected – his mother, Marlene, had Stage 4 breast cancer. A seventh grader at the time, with two younger siblings, Michael can remember learning that his mother was battling this disease. “I was surprised,” said Michael. “I remember hearing my aunt crying over voicemail. I was sad and couldn’t believe it was happening to her.”

As someone who her son considers strong and determined, Marlene embarked on a year of treatment following her diagnosis. Michael can recall Marlene having to leave for treatment in the mornings and how different that time was for the Hofer family. “Our [extended] family was really supportive. I remember my Aunt Margaret always being there for us,” said Michael. “She even bought my whole team pink socks [in honor of Marlene].” There was also a community benefit held to support the Hofer family that Michael remembers as an awesome event with everyone showing their support.

Today, Marlene is healthy and busy raising her family, while following her kids in their activities. “[Without her,] I would have had to grow up a lot sooner than I wanted,” said Michael. “She helps us with everything for school, makes sure we’re fed…She’s always there. She’s my biggest fan. I can’t imagine not having her there for me.”

As the Howard High School students join together to raise money and awareness through “Tigers Step Up 2 Cancer”, Michael is just one of the many students who has experienced the wrath of cancer first hand and understands the importance of coming together as a community to support those fighting this disease. As he reflects on the time his mother was battling cancer, he has chosen to step up and share his story. “Everyone is going through it or knows someone who is going through it,” said Michael. “No one should go through it alone.”  

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