The First Beat Cancer Football Game


What started as an English assignment quickly turned into a reality. Mikayla VanWey, ‘21 is the mind behind the first Marion vs. CPU Beat Cancer football game. At a young age, VanWey was diagnosed with leukemia. Her own experience with childhood cancer has inspired her every day since then. Because of it, she has had a passion for helping kids and families struggling with the same situation. When the opportunity arose, she took the chance to begin planning something that could make a lasting impact. 

VanWey began to make it a reality the second half of her sophomore year with help from Principal, Greg Semler and the CPU dance team coach. “Overall, I’m extremely proud of her for her passion and taking steps to take action against childhood cancer,” said Semler. VanWey came up with the idea and communicated with CPU, but the adults also played a large role in getting this project up and running. 

The football game will be held September 27th at Marion’s Thomas Park football field. T-shirts are being sold to wear to the game, and all of the proceeds made from these will be going towards the University of Iowa Children’s Hospital to fund research, and staffing, and provide games, toys for children being treated at the hospital. All to help the children feel more comfortable during their treatment. 

Throughout the week, there will also be more ways to donate and help support the cause. A coin drive will span both the Marion and CPU school districts, but the main source of income will be from the t-shirts. If you haven’t already ordered one, it would be a great way to donate. You can also donate to the Iowa Children’s Hospital at any time. 

This game means more than just two schools trying to win a football game. It also stands for unity. Two schools are coming together through sport to make a lasting impact on the children and families currently suffering from cancer. Unity is shown through both teams coming together towards a main goal. As a part of the Marion dance team, VanWey wanted to have a moment of togetherness with both Poms teams. The halftime show will also combine both the Marion and CPU dance teams on the field supporting the cause. The teams are hoping to make it a fun performance and get everyone hyped up for a good football game.

This is the first year of this game taking place, however VanWey would like to make it a lasting tradition between Marion and CPU. She has high hopes for the future of the program and believes that it is an extremely supportive and special thing to do for the children  “Just knowing that I can make a little bit of an impact in helping other children with cancer is special to me.” said VanWey. Having an opportunity like this doesn’t come every day, so if you are interested in helping the cause all you have to do is show up, and if possible, buy a t-shirt. 


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