Gold out for a cure

The West High Trojans will host Dubuque Senior this Friday, September 20th in the annual gold out football game against cancer.


Kara Wagenknecht

West High’s 2018 gold out game kid captain, Otto, walks onto the field for the coin toss.

Excitement lingers over the crowd. A rambunctious group of highschoolers decked out in gold attire bang on the rickety metal bleachers of the student section. West High Dance Marathon members hand out gold balloons to the spectators. The cheerleaders rev up the crowd with a cheer, “FTK, FTK, FTK” echoes around the field. As the clock ticks down the minutes until kickoff, the electric feeling in the crowd starts to heighten. The football team thunders onto the field at full speed, their bright white jerseys contrasting the slowly setting sun in the distance. As they line up on the field, the kicker sets the game ball on its tee, the crowd goes silent as the players run in the direction of the ball. At the ball is kicked, hundreds of spectators release their golden balloons into the air. Each balloon represents a child who has lost their battle to pediatric cancer or a kiddo who’s currently fighting their battle. This is the West High Gold Out football game.

The annual Gold Out game is a tradition between the football team and West High School Dance Marathon (WHSDM). This year’s game will be this Friday, September 20th as the Trojans take on Dubuque Senior at the Trojan Field. The night will be hosted by WHSDM, a club that collaborates with UIDM to provide emotional and financial support for families with children battling pediatric cancer. The game is a fundraiser for The Stead Family Children’s Hospital and each year hundreds of community members show up to support the amazing cause.

For Katherine Yacopucci ’20, a member of WHSDM, the event is something very special to her.

“I feel so blessed that my community has something like WHSDM or UIDM, because I’ve never been a part of something that is so enjoyable that all goes towards an amazing cause,” she said.

I’ve never been a part of something that is so enjoyable that all goes towards an amazing cause.”

— Katherine Yacopucci '20


Every year in the U.S an estimated 15,780 children between the ages of zero and 19 years old are diagnosed with cancer.

Childhood cancer, and cancer in general, affects so many people, whether it affects you personally or a family member,” said West High AD Craig Huegel. “My hope is that someday in my lifetime I’ll see a cure for cancer and I’ll know that the efforts of a WHDM and all these schools that have DM and colleges and universities will have been a part of that cure.”

The Gold Out game is a great time to show your support for the fight against cancer and have an enjoyable night with the West High community. 

This night means a lot to the community, especially those who have been touched by cancer personally or have seen it affect a family member or dear friend. Head football coach and English teacher Garret Hartwig talked about what it means to him and the football team to be involved in this special night. “You know in the moment we’re focused on the game but if we get a second to look up into the crowd and see the environment it makes you proud that you’re able to represent the students and the faculty that put this together for a bigger cause,” he said. 

Anyone can get involved with WHSDM or help out with future events. One of the biggest ways to show support is to attend events and see all the hard work that has gone into planning as special of an event as possible. Each year a kid captain is invited to the “tailgate” party thrown before the game as well as to attend the game as a special guest. This year’s kid captain is Lucy Roth, a bubbly 10 year old from Iowa City who has faced incredible odds in her battle against cancer. The tailgate celebrating Lucy will be before the game and will start at 4:15 pm on Friday, September 20th in the courtyard. This will be followed by the varsity football game at 7:00 pm. For the most up to date information on Friday’s festivities or to get involved follow @whsdmftk on Instagram and Twitter.