LITTLE FALLS, NJ - Passaic Valley High School will once again honor Breast Cancer Awareness Month, as the girls’ soccer program takes a lead role.
Head coach Kathleen Berthold, a PV grad and former standout student-athlete for the Hornets, has done a tremendous job in putting together a special day where the players can honor those who have battled breast cancer, as well as continuing the need for awareness.
“On Oct. 5, we’ll be playing Cedar Grove, in the 5th annual Breast Cancer Awareness Game,” said Berthold. “Cedar Grove has been a part of this event with us since the beginning. This year’s theme is ‘Our Hornet Family Fights Together.'”
The opening ceremony starts at 1:30 p.m., according to Berthold, with the game against Cedar Grove to follow at 2 p.m., at the Passaic Valley varsity field adjacent to the school, in Little Falls.
“The National Anthem will be sung by someone from the Passaic Valley community, and the PV junior varsity and/or freshman cheerleaders will be on hand,” said Berthold. “We will then announce our guests and support the fighters, honor the survivors, and remember the taken. We’ll release balloons as a symbol of support, and joining the annual campaign to increase awareness.”
Among the former Hornets expected to be on hand will be Kayla Campbell and Brittany Bove, to participate and honor their mothers.
Also participating will be the McNeill family, Roger and Wendy McNeill and their children, Erinand Meredith, along with Erin’s two young daughters, Emma and Cassie, and Erin’s husband, Gary Wilks.
“This part is special,” said Berthold, who graduated Passaic Valley High with Erin McNeill, now Erin McNeill-Wilks. “I spoke to Erin about it, and she is excited about the event.
“The McNeills are a true Hornet family that fights together.”
Roger McNeill is a 1971 graduate of PV while wife Wendy graduated PV a year later. As mentioned, Erin graduated with Berthold in 2000 and Meredith was graduated in 2005. The late Colin McNeill, the family’s youngest sibling, graduated PV in 2008.
Wendy McNeill was diagnosed with breast cancer this past February. She is currently cancer free, following surgery.
Erin McNeill Wilks, who works in the Passaic Valley High school system, expressed her heartfelt thanks to the community, which has been her home for her entire life.
“As many local people are aware, our family has been through some very difficult times in recent years,” she said. “And the amazing people in this Passaic Valley community have consistently rallied around us with support, in our times of need.
“That remained true this past year when my Mom was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was difficult news to learn and another challenge to confront, but my Mom is strong in faith and constitution.
“The prayers, love and support from family, friends and the PV community have once again held us up and carried us all through.”