MARQUETTE - On the football field, Elijah Weber is described as being a straight forward, tough kid who plays hard and always follows through.
As he sat next to his mom on a recent afternoon, his strength shined as he spoke of his efforts to create more awareness of breast cancer in honor of his mom, Kathy Weber, a breast cancer patient.
Weber is a sophomore at Marquette Senior High School. When his mother was diagnosed with cancer in March of 2010, it wasn't long before Weber decided to take it upon himself to get the word out.
Elijah Weber began his efforts to raise breast cancer awareness last year in honor of his mother. Shown, from left are Elijah’s dad, Scott Weber; Elijah’s mom, Kathy Weber; and Elija. (Journal photo by Matt Keiser)
"When she (mom) was diagnosed, it really made me take a step back. People need to realize that breast cancer is a threat that can appear at any time and you don't expect it," Weber said.
According to Weber, life should never be taken for granted and every day should be appreciated and enjoyed. To emphasize that, Weber ordered stickers regarding breast cancer awareness and distributed them to friends to wear on their football helmets last year.
This year, he is wearing a pink armband to school all year. In addition, during the first week of October, recognized as Breast Cancer Awareness Month, he began wearing bright pink socks.
According to Weber's mom, several parents took notice and decided to order socks for the entire football team, which they wore for their final game of the season Friday.
"To see people so quickly jump on something like this is so moving," Kathy Weber said. "It makes me so proud and happy to see Elijah undertake this on his own and have the courage to make this statement."
Weber's mother described him as always being a leader, a statement his football coach, Tim Bullock, echoed.
"Elijah is just a good kid all around," Bullock said. "He's family-oriented. He's tough and he brings it on and off the field."
Bullock said having lost a few good friends to cancer, the more they could do to create awareness, the better. He added that the entire team was on board with the idea of wearing the pink socks.
"It was a great way to end the season this year," Bullock said.
Going forward, Weber said he doesn't have anything else in the works other than the armband and socks, but he offered words of comfort to those in a similar situation.
"There are always people out there that are willing to support you, so reach out," he said. "You're not alone."
Abbey Hauswirth can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 240.