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Soccer players show true color

When it comes to support, the boys on the U14 North Bend United soccer team are not afraid to show their colors. The whole team wore pink wristbands Oct. 21 during a tournament to show their love and support for Jodi Bauman, recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

"Jodi was overwhelmed," said Chantel Frankenburg, instigator of the idea.

Frankenburg, whose son plays on the team, came up with the idea a couple of weeks before the tournament and decided to share the plan with other parents and supporters of Bauman. Wanting to surprise her, Bauman, whose son Kyle, 13, plays on the team, was kept in the dark. Since pink is the official color of breast cancer awareness, the original idea was for the team to wear pink socks over their shin guards, said Frankenburg. But pink doesn't come in men's sizes for socks. Instead, pink wristbands were recommended. Surprising to Frankenburg and some other parents, the boys were excited about the idea.

"I just thought it was pretty cool how we did something like that on the soccer field for people with cancer," said Zach Jensen, 14. "It was a smart idea."

"It was really nice," said Max Brown, 13. "It was good to support Jodi. She supports us. She comes out to every game and cheers us on."

The boys didn't put the wristbands on until shortly before the game began, when the team was gathered by one of the goals.

"As they were walking back by where all the parents were, they had them in their hands, or had their arms crossed so she wouldn't see," said Frankenburg. "She didn't know what was going on."

Then, moments before the game began, Jim McKiernan, publisher of the Valley Record, arranged the boys and took a picture of the wristbands. Frankenburg and other parents used that moment to inform Bauman of what was happening.

"It was very overwhelming," Bauman said. "Extremely overwhelming. There's really not a lot of words that can even express how I felt. I'm still kind of on a high from the whole thing."

That wasn't all. The boys' coach and Bauman's husband, Greg, suggested the boys each give her a high-five.

"I cried, there were tears, it was very overwhelming," Bauman said. "They're awesome."

"She was really surprised," Brown said.

"The shock on her face was pretty cool," Shane Frankenburg, 14, agreed.

In addition to the wristbands, the other parents and supporters on the sidelines pitched in, wearing pink or red clothing. Bauman didn't pick up on it right away, though.

"She kept saying, 'Oh, you're wearing pink today and you're wearing pink today; everybody's wearing pink today,'" Frankenburg said.

Bauman first learned of her diagnosis May 1, 2006. Since then - for six months - every Tuesday she has been receiving chemotherapy treatments for about three hours, she said. The side effects of the treatment don't hit until a day or two afterward, when she starts feeling really fatigued. She's usually back to herself again by the following Saturday.

"Weekends I'm open, which is good because that's when the soccer games are," Bauman said.

She has 10 more weeks of chemotherapy before she is finished with this round Jan. 3. Another mother on the team, Robin Brown, also had breast cancer, Bauman said.

"She's pretty much walked me through this whole thing, which has been great," Bauman said. "She's kind of filled me in on how you're going to feel, what it's going to be like. She's gone to every treatment with me."

To continue showing their support, the boys will continue wearing the pink wristbands for the rest of their games this season.

"I'm glad we're doing that, because it shows that we care for the ladies on the sidelines," said Shane Frankenburg.

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