HARMONY, Pa. (KDKA) — Seneca Valley High School’s football team is learning the greatest lessons in life this year.
Seneca Valley Athletic Director Heather Lewis is incredibly inspirational. Not only for the way she is courageously battling breast cancer, but for the ways she uses it as a teaching moment and to love kids.
The Raiders brought their fighting spirit directly to Lewis, right to the front door of her home. The team surprised Lewis with dozens of pink ribbon decals that represent her fight against breast cancer.
One by one, she placed the decals on the players’ helmets.
“When she opened that door and we saw how much it meant to her, it was just really impactful for our team, just knowing that she cares about us that much,” senior defensive end Brian Olan said.
“That experience gave me 10 to 15 seconds with each kid, just to check-in, to say, ‘How ya doing? You’re doing great. Keep working hard.’ That was good for my soul,” Lewis said.
Lewis was diagnosed with breast cancer earlier this year.
“Just a routine annual mammogram, and they saw something they didn’t like,” Lewis said.
Doctors told her she had a fast-growing cancer that had a high likelihood of returning if they did not get to it right away.
Lewis describes the journey as a rollercoaster of emotions, the mental and emotional battles every bit as tough as the physical ones. Knowing what she was going through, football coach Ron Butschle organized the surprise visit.
“She truly is about doing what’s best for kids. And I knew the part about work that she misses the most is the kids,” Butschle said.
“I don’t know if they understand truly, it came at probably the moment when I needed,” Lewis said.
Lewis’ doctors told her the prognosis is good. But had she not gone for her yearly screenings, things may have been different. She wants the Seneca Valley community and region to know how much the support has meant to her.