Southeast Missouri State University student publication

Billington shares importance of football's Pink Up Cape game

Monday, November 6, 2017

Southeast wide receiver Trevon Billington has a special connection to the Pink Up Cape breast cancer awareness game. His aunt Diane Carey was diagnosed with breast cancer when he was 18 years old. She died two years later. Carey was someone who was near to his heart.

“Someone who has been there for me all my life and now she is no longer around. It’s tough,” Billington said. “I used to live with her, but I just have to keep pushing.”

Carey’s death was a hard time for him. He was at Southeast and away from his family when he learned about the death of his aunt. He happened to be scrolling through Facebook and saw a post saying “rest up my dearest aunt/cousin.”

“During this tough time my support system was my family,” Billington said. “The first person I called after I found out my aunt passed away was my cousin Angel, she is Carey’s daughter. Carey was a big part of our family so we all leaned on one another.”

Southeast football has made it a tradition to honor the men and women who have survived the fight against cancer, for those who are currently fighting the battle and for those who have lost.

Each year around October the organization hosts a game in affiliation with Pink Up Cape. The players wear jerseys that are outlined in pink that have been auctioned off to the community and student families to honor those who have been diagnosed with breast cancer.

On game day, players receive their jersey with the last name of the person being honored and a write up about them. At the end of the game the jerseys are either returned to the breast cancer survivor or the family of the person who died.

“Pink Up Cape has a great impact on the community, it’s not just a game that’s important to me,” Billington said. “Our family members and other families can look down at the field and see all of us wearing the jerseys in honor of someone who survived or passed away. They can see our players doing our best and living on for that person and their family. It’s just a good experience.”

Families from all over the area come and support the players and the men and women they are honoring. Last year, Billington had the pleasure of wearing his aunt's name on the back of his jersey to honor her legacy.

“During the game when I score a touchdown I point up to the sky, especially during the breast cancer game,” Billington said. “I do that because I want to feel her presence. It is as if she is living through me.”

By experience, Billington knows that breast cancer is a tough battle for anyone to go through. It is hard on the person and their family. It is not an easy battle for anyone, but prayer is the way he got through it.

“Anyone going through this situation — keep your head up and keep them in your prayers,” he said. “There is not anything you can do. You just have to stay strong for the person who is fighting to overcome this situation.”

For this year’s Pink Up game, Southeast hosted the University of Tennessee at Martin on Saturday, Nov. 4, at Houck Field