As the Western Women’s Canadian Football League prepares for the postseason, one of the most emotional and special moments of the regular season occurred at Mosaic Stadium in Regina, as the hometown Riot graciously supported a cause close to the hearts of many on and off the field. Hosting their inaugural “Teal Game” against archrivals Saskatoon, the Riot displayed remarkable teamwork in their support of the Ovarian Cancer Canada (OCC) Regina Walk of Hope, taking place in September.
With teal the designated color of ovarian cancer awareness, players wore shoelaces, sweatbands and t-shirts, among other kinds of paraphernalia, all adorned in the teal color as a gesture of support. Raising $1507 via ticket sales, donations and food sales, three dollars from every ticket sold at the Teal Game also went towards the Walk of Hope.
Wendy Sutherland, one of the co-chairs for the Walk of Hope, was among a group of volunteers with the OCC cheering on the Riot, as a mutual respect has developed between the two. Both are committed to raising awareness and helping each other develop within the community, testament to the potential of women in sport to make a positive impact,
“The RIOT organization graciously donated proceeds from each ticket sold and we were also given an opportunity to pass around donation buckets. The money raised by the community will be used to support our Saskatchewan Ovarian Cancer Survivors Group and the Walk of Hope.
For each RIOT home game, you will see ovarian cancer survivors; family members and supporters continue to volunteer their time to support the RIOT. We can be seen selling 50/50 tickets, handing out programs and selling gate tickets…proudly wearing our teal shirts and cheering loudly for our Regina RIOT.”
Among the members of the Riot who helped make this a reality was defensive lineman Amanda Tafelmeyer, who also donated her time for OCC. Along with her sister Courtney, who also plays for the Riot, the game held an even more profound meaning for them.
A few short weeks prior to the game, their grandmother, Irene Emperingham had lost her own battle with ovarian cancer. There was definitely a spot in their hearts for her, as she was aware of the Teal Game prior to her passing. The Teal Game proved to be a very special way to honor her life. It was one in which Emperingham was tremendously proud of her granddaughters for gracing the gridiron and making a statement about sporting equality.
Despite the Saskatoon Valkryies erasing a halftime deficit of 16-14 to prevail, there were no feelings of loss in the game’s aftermath. Sutherland was proud of the Riot’s efforts on and off the field,
“Happy beyond words and I will have to say it was an emotional time for a lot of us. The support we have received from the RIOT coaching staff, players and staff has been exceptional. On May 17, it was great to see Mosaic field come alive with teal.
It was exhilarating to watch the players enter the field wearing their teal shoelaces, face paint and tape and the coaching staff, all of them wearing their ovarian cancer hats and shoelaces. We had one of our youngest survivors (aged 20) sing O’Canada, and the survivors participated in the coin toss. It was truly a momentous occasion to watch the players and to be surrounded by all the teal supporters.”
This autumn, the Riot shall reciprocate as players shall volunteer or participate in the Walk of Hope. Marking the second consecutive autumn that members of the Riot have donated their time, it has developed into a labor of love, poised to become a signature cause for the proud franchise. With the collaborative goal of improving the quality of life in the community, the Riot and the OCC are contributing to a true win-win situation.
“On Sunday, September 13, this will be the second year the RIOT will support the Regina Ovarian Cancer Canada Walk of Hope in Rick Hansen Park. I look forward to having these dedicated, hardworking remarkable players and staff volunteers to make our walk another huge success. http://www.ovariancanada.org”
“All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated”