Kicking for cancer: Pelham soccer honors graduate battling cancer

By ALEC ETHEREDGE | Managing Editor 

PELHAM – In between games for Pelham’s soccer programs, the teams come together for a special moment. On a field that saw two showdowns, teams instead came together for a brief moment to share their respects for one of Pelham’s own.

Lana Turner was recently diagnosed Leukemia on Feb. 7, almost a year after her father passed away unexpectedly, and on Tuesday, March 10, the Pelham graduate and current freshman at Troy University was honored by the Panthers in between the varsity girls and boys soccer games against Shades Valley.

Trading in their traditional green and gold for orange uniforms, which represents Leukemia awareness, Pelham took a moment after the girls game and before the boys game to celebrate Turner and let her know they are thinking about her during this tough time.

Turner is also the brother of Pelham assistant wrestling coach Dillon Turner, who was in attendance with the majority of the wrestling team to show their support for his sister.

While the players wore special orange tops to honor Lana’s fight against Leukemia to show her she’s not alone in the battle, the wrestling team as well as many of the fans showed her the community is also behind her by wearing grey shirts that said Panthers across the center with the ‘A’ being replaced by an orange ribbon with the hashtag teamLANA under the name.

Before the boys’ game started, the wrestling team and Dillon Turner, who was there in his sister’s absence, gathered wearing their shirts to share their love, while the soccer team huddled together in a circle to share a prayer.

There was also an opportunity for those in attendance to donate money to help with Lana’s battle against the disease.

She now faces a sixth month treatment plan at Children’s of Alabama where she’ll receive daily treatment for Leukemia followed by targeted treatment for mutations.

Kicking off the competition on the field before the special ceremony, the Pelham girls continued what has been a remarkable start to the 2020 season by picking up a 6-1 victory against Shades Valley.

With that win, the Panthers overcame a 5-1 loss to Chelsea in their last outing, which marked their first loss of the season. With a record of 12-1 this season, Pelham has scored 65 goals and given up just nine goals, five of which came in one game.

For Pelham’s boys, it’s also been an impressive season that has seen the Panthers ranked in the top spot in Class 6A for most of the season competing against a difficult schedule.

Against Shades Valley, the Panthers got off to another strong start both offensively and defensively. They were able to hold Shades Valley scoreless through the first half, while Fabian Calderon helped them take the lead into the half at 1-0 after beating the back line to drill a goal in the 27th minute.

Midway through the second half, however, Shades Valley scored to off a free kick. The free kick deflected off the Pelham keeper and was followed up by a rebound that was buried into the back of the net for the equalizer.

The final 20 minutes became much more defensive, which led to a 1-1 tie. Pelham ended the game with nine shots on goal, while keeper Braden Troxell had four saves in goal.

If you would like to donate to Lana’s fund, you can visit Thebiggivingfund.com/.