Community rallies behind beloved N. College Hill coach fighting - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Community rallies behind beloved N. College Hill coach fighting cancer

(PHOTO: GoFundME.com) (PHOTO: GoFundME.com)
NORTH COLLEGE HILL, OH (FOX19) -

A beloved North College Hill High School teacher and coach used to giving pep talks to his team is in need of his own pep talk.   

A native of North College Hill, Football coach Bruce Baarendse is suffering from cancer.  He’s been at the school for more than 30 years. 

"His impact in this community, this says it all - the crowd that is here tonight,” said Gayle Clyburn, a retired teacher. 

Baarendse wasn’t part of Thursday’s pep rally, but the rally was all about him. 

"Coach B always did for us.  It's time for us to do for him now,” Clyburn said. 

Coach B is in the hospital battling cancer. 
            
“He is fighting cancer, and with that, a blood infection developed,” Clyburn told FOX19 NOW.  "It started towards the end of the school year is when they found out about this.” 

At the rally, friends and family left well-wishes, donned #BruceStrong t-shirts and decorated the halls with signs full of kind words for Baarendse to let him know how much the community supports their beloved coach.  There were performances from the school band, as well as dance team members and speakers showering the crowd with memories and stories about Baarendse. 

"He was the one that would brighten up the day.  He was the one no matter what you were feeling he was there as a friend, as a coach, as a mentor,” said Jessica Anderson, an alum of the school. 

Fittingly taking donations at the door inside football helmets and an online crowdfunding page that’s now swelled to more than 12-thousand dollars, the community is financially helping Coach B fight back. 

"We wanted to do something happy and cheerful, and he always used to run the pep rallies here.  He would be the emcee, and we thought, 'What better way to honor him,’” said Clyburn. 

Thursday’s events have been a  big secret to Baarendse - one that he'll soon be in on.  He'll see all of that love in a recorded video very soon. 

"He was the number one cheerleader for everyone in this community.  It's just so great to see that everyone else came out tonight to invest and to pour back into him all the love he's given to us,” Anderson said. 

As of Thursday evening, a GoFundMe page set up to help Baarendse was over $12,000 with a goal of $15,000.  


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