As the long-time cheerleading coach of Lowell High School, Jennifer Del Real has not missed an evening under the Friday night lights with her team in a decade. Throughout the years, she instilled mindsets of positivity and strength within her athletes with a simple phrase. “Do not worry about what you cannot control and only focus on what you can control.” Little did Jennifer know, her constant motivation towards others would soon become her personal driving force. In late July, Jennifer was diagnosed with Breast Cancer and has since been receiving treatment.
While in the beginning stages of her treatment, the first football game of the season was quickly approaching. The day before the big game, Real found herself sitting amid IV medications and nerve blocks, as she was scheduled for her first surgery. “I asked my surgeon if I could go to the game,” said Del Real, as her surgeon agreed upon the arrangement. “That was all I needed to make sure I was going to the game.”
The day after her surgery, Del Real constructed a perfect plan to surprise her athletes as she arrived an hour before kickoff. The timing was perfect as she walked through the gates, her squad was making their way over. “Seeing their smiles of excitement as they ran over to me was amazing,” said Del Real. “Walking out onto the track with them like I had done for ten seasons felt like home.”
Fast forward to now. Del Real finds a sense of empowerment from taking control of a situation that is initially life-changing. Her athletes have embraced their coach’s mindset by taking control of their destiny on the sidelines and on the mat. “They have faced obstacles in a short amount of time, but continue to grow together to overcome,” she said.
On Sept. 21st, Lowell High School’s cheer squad competed in their first competition of the year, where their routine received zero deductions. As for Del Real, she is feeling extremely optimistic, as she continues to always find the positives in life.
“Always find the positive. Even if it’s small, it’s there somewhere waiting to be found.” – Jennifer Del Real
Need ideas on how to go pink for Breast Cancer Awareness this month? Click HERE.