Gorden hopes to 'Knockout Cancer' through awareness

Bill Althaus

Chelsea Gorden sat at a folding table in the commons area at Grain Valley High School not really knowing what to expect. 

The president of the high school's HOSA (which was once an acronym for Health Occupations Students of America) club was hoping to raise money to help "Knockout Cancer," as September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. 

HOSA president Chelsea Gorden, center in gold shirt, receives support from fellow Grain Valley High School students, from left, Ella Boyle, Morgan Heard, Mackenzie Keller, Emma Thiessen and Kylee Bragaw as she introduces the charitable campaign "Knockout Cancer" in the high school commons. September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, and Gorden will be conducting a fund-raising project at Friday night's home football game, where fans can pay $1 to give Bozo the Clown a punch – or five punches for $3.

She had a pair of boxing gloves and a Bozo the Clown blow-up punching bag, and was offering one swing at the clown for $1 or five swings for $3. 

She raised $26 and took a bit of abuse from some of her classmates; but Gorden didn't mind one bit. 

"Our theme is ‘Fighting Today for Their Tomorrow,’" said Gorden, who sports a 4.55 GPA and is a standout on the Grain Valley tennis team. 

"With high school kids, you're going to face some backlash, especially from those kids who have no idea what we're doing, but that’s OK with me. I hope we raised an awareness of childhood cancer, and we made $26 that we didn't have yesterday. So I’d call it a success." 

So would Eagles activities director Brandon Hart and tennis coach Randy Draper. 

"I'm proud of Chelsea, because that's the kind of student she is," Hart said. "She's just the best at everything she does, and she's not afraid to get out of her comfort zone.” 

"When she brought this idea to me I put her through the wringer. I asked a lot of tough questions, and I could tell she had a plan and that she was going to follow through on the plan." 

Draper agrees with Hart. 

"Oh my, she is so special," Draper said. "She is ridiculously organized, and when I want to run an idea past her about the tennis team, she always has a great answer. She's personable, she worries about other people and she is a leader on and off the court.” 

"She is the real deal, and I feel honored to be able to coach her. And this cancer awareness plan she has is outstanding." 

Along with offering the opportunity to punch Bozo at school, she and fellow HOSA members Kylee Bragaw, Bailey Jinkens, Finley Laforge, Meagan Kanust and Anna Totta will be offering insight and more opportunities for football fans to release a little bit of frustration with Bozo at Friday night's home football game, which has been designated a "Gold Out" for the color that brings awareness to childhood cancer. 

"We hope to get a great response at the game," Gorden said. "And we don't have any money goal in mind. We will consider this all a success if we make people aware of childhood cancer – really, all types of cancer. 

For more information go to childhoodcancer.org.