Monday, November 19th, 2007
A BIG helping hand for an opponent's cheerleader
By Shelley Grieshop
The Coldwater community and school raised more than $15,000 in two days last week to help out the family of an ill cheerleader for a rival football team.
Eric Goodwin, athletic director at Coldwater schools, said $15,180 was raised on Thursday and Friday for Savana Coffman, 15, who received a heart transplant on Wednesday. The money was presented Saturday night prior to Coldwater's game against Clinton-Massie - the regional football championship at Welcome Stadium in Dayton.
"It's pretty incredible that nobody in Coldwater, I don't think, knew anybody at Clinton-Massie and we still were able to raise this much," Goodwin said this morning.
The school found out Wednesday night from Coldwater High School graduate Matt Hibner about the Coffman family's predicament. The Coffmans reportedly do not have medical insurance; the coverage was dropped after the girl's mother, Tabby, had a heart transplant 13 years ago.
Savana became ill in early October and was diagnosed with a failing heart, her relatives told The Daily Standard last week. A transplant was her only option for survival, they said. The freshman reportedly inherited the same illness as her mother.
Goodwin said most of the donations were from individual students and community members who dropped cash off at the school late last week. A recent Coldwater graduate who was involved in a serious accident a few years ago gave $1,500; another graduate donated nine $100 bills, Goodwin said.
"The rest was a hundred here and there, fifties and smaller change," he said.
Clinton-Massie showed their appreciation for Coldwater's generosity with a huge thank-you banner posted at the game. As Coldwater's cheerleaders presented the check to her sister Sydney, Falcon fans applauded for an extended time.
Sydney Coffman, her uncle and the school principal were on hand to receive the check. The girls' parents remained at the hospital with their daughter, who is reportedly doing well but in serious condition as doctor's wait to see if her body accepts or rejects the new organ.
Also presented to the Coffman family on Saturday night was a comforting letter from a Coldwater resident whose family experienced a heart transplant and a NASCAR plaque donated by Goodwin to be used at a fundraiser auction for the girl at 10 a.m. Jan. 12 at Fox Hollow Stables in Waynesville.
More information on Savana can be found at www.savanasmiles.com.