“Fight like a girl, Christina!” Community rallies around O-D student during cancer battle
HAMLET — “Fight like a girl, Christina!” has become the rallying cry for the Oregon-Davis Bobcats in support of their team manager, Christina Rotering. Rotering is battling lymphoblastic lymphoma, a form of non-Hodgskin’s Lymphoma that usually occurs in children. She was diagnosed with this cancer in May 2007, but, to everyone’s relief, went into remission three months later. The cancer became active again in her spine in August 2008, but she entered a second remission. Rotering’s struggle has been heart-wrenching, but the community has rallied around her and has shown their support in remarkable ways.
Rotering has been an Oregon-Davis student since kindergarten, and has been with the team since fifth grade. She played basketball for a while before her condition deteriorated in junior high.
“I got to play fifth and sixth grade and then in junior high I got sick; and I wasn’t up to the practices and everything,” said Rotering.
However, being unable to play hasn’t stopped her from being a part of the team in the slightest. She has been a manager of the team for four years, and her support for her team is unwavering. Even amidst this battle for her life, she comes to as many games as possible.
Rotering’s support for the O-D Bobcats is rivaled only by the Bobcats support of Rotering. The community has really come together to take care of her in any way possible, even designing a T-shirt with the words “Fight like a girl, Christina!” imprinted on it. The school raised $3200 for Rotering’s family from ticket and T-shirt sales, raffles and silent auctions, and the Oregon-Davis junior class sponsored a silent auction and bake sale Dec. 11.
“They have come through and just really supported us a lot just by, you know, being there for us, talking to us, giving us moral support,” said Rotering’s mother, Amy. ”The community, the church, the clinic up in South Bend, the school, everyone has been really supportive.”
The Roterings hope to use some of the funds that have been raised to build a bedroom for Rotering on the ground floor of their home, so she doesn’t have to go up and down the stairs. She’s currently sleeping in the living room, which is a situation every teenager wants to avoid.
In addition to all the fundraising and other displays of affection, Rotering was elected Homecoming Princess at the Oregon-Davis homecoming basketball game Jan. 28, with her prince Ricardo Mastrocesare. Everyone in attendance during the ceremony stood when Rotering’s name was called for her nomination and their applause nearly shook the building as she crossed the court.
Even before the ceremony, Rotering had a chance to talk with many students and adults during the basketball game. People lined up to talk to her, give their encouragement, and take a picture with her. The room quickly filled up with supporters and the atmosphere was abuzz with an almost tangible sentiment of care.
The school itself has also been helpful. Rotering is currently being home-schooled, and the school is trying to get an online system set up to allow her to be a part of class without having to leave home.
“They are trying to get the Internet all set up so she can do it through (online) classroom, that way she can still be part of the class and talk to them and participate and different stuff like that. They’ve really worked with us with that, with her being gone and different things,” said Amy Rotering.
Many donations have been made to the Rotering family, including gifts of food to their home and the hospital. Christina’s friends come over to see her and spend time with her, and to show they care in every way they can.
“There’s a lot (of support),” Rotering laughed. “I think a lot’s from school, friends, family members and other families. It’s a lot; and it’s really nice because I know my mom and dad can’t pay all the bills sometimes, so they help us out.”
The Rotering family did not expect to see such a heartwarming response from the community.
“It’s been very surprising, very overwhelming with everything,” said Amy Rotering. “It’s been excellent, it really has. Anything that we need, people come in and help out.”
The unbelievable amount of support really means a lot to Rotering and her family.
“I’m really thankful for all the prayers and gifts, or anything they’ve done for my family. I’m praying for everybody also and I want them to know that I really care,” said Rotering.