As communities unite across the nation this month to raise awareness for breast cancer, here in bay county, the community is showing support for one of its own.
It's spirit from those like the Arnold High School Cheerleading Squad that has helped teacher and cheerleading coach Sharon Gilson fight breast cancer
"I refuse to have cancer. I told my children here at scho.ol, because I consider all of them my children, and I told them we are not going to cry about cancer. We are going to fight cancer," says Sharon Gilson.
Paired with early detection, Gilson says, her strength came from the community support that spurred from the start.
I remember what it felt like, and I remembered how people supported me. They told you things that you don't know unless you go through the surgery," says coworker and 3-year breast cancer survivor Marcee Strickland. "But little things. Knowing that somebody else has been through it and they got through it, it means you can get through it too," says Strickland.
Not only is her cheerleading squad sporting shirts in support of their coach, but Bay District teachers and community members all around town are wearing Team Gilson jerseys, showing Gilson and other women fighting, there's hope.
"I want them to be strong, and I want them to fight cancer and refuse to sit back and not get that mammogram. Go in and get that mammogram. If you find it early, you can fight it and you can beat it," says Gilson.
Gilson had a double mastectomy and is now one month cancer free.