PINK UP: SEMO football play keeps aunt's memory alive on the football field

PINK UP: SEMO football play keeps aunt's memory alive on the football field
(Source: Coach Tuke/Twitter)
(Source: Coach Tuke/Twitter)

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - Each one of us likely knows someone who has battled breast cancer.

The fight hit way too close to home for a Southeast Missouri State University football player, Trevon Billington.

His aunt, Diane Carey, battled breast cancer not once, but twice.

Billington described her as a fighter and someone that has always been there for him.

"I actually stayed with her when I was younger," Billington said. "So I grew up with her. She taught me from right to wrong."

Billington remembers vividly when she beat it the first time.

He says he was a senior in high school and she came out to see him play.

But the second time, the cancer came back stronger.

In August, Carey was in the hospital.

"When I called my granny, my granny said she wasn't responsive so she wouldn't be able to talk back to me, or anything so they put headphones on her and I talked to her," Billington said. "You know I told her that I love her and all that. The thing that really messed me up... When I was talking to her they knew she heard me because she was trying to talk back but she couldn't really you know."

Carey passed away the next day.

"It really took something out of me. Because she was always there for me," Billington said.

He told his teammates he didn't want to go to class or really do anything.

Their response: "They told me to keep going, keep pushing. Don't let it get me down, just do it for her."

That is exactly what he did.

On October 31, he took the field with his Aunt's name on his back as a part of the annul SEMO pink up football game.

"I had one of the best games of my life that game," Billington said. "I played real well because I just knew she would be real proud of me if she was sitting in these stands."

SEMO beat Austin Peay 41 to 21.

It was a victory both on and off the field for Billington.

"I know what she would want me to do and she would be proud of me," Billington said. "So I got to keep going. I am doing it for her."

About 1 in 8 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.

However, women can decrease their risk by getting checked.

SEMO's annual pink up game serves as a reminder for all women to schedule their mammogram, and take a proactive approach to their health.

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