Kendra Cimaglia, a junior cheerleader at Johnston High School, has been selected as the 2013 Section 1 recipient of the National High School Spirit of Sport Award by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS).
The National High School Spirit of Sport Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics.
Cimaglia, who is a member of the Johnston High School soccer/ice hockey cheerleading squad, was faced with the battle of her life as a 14-year-old freshman at La Salle Academy when she was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma, a malignant brain cancer. On Sept. 27, she had surgery to remove the tumor and subsequently began radiation treatments for six weeks. Cimaglia transferred to Johnston High School, and the radiation was followed by nine cycles of chemotherapy, which ended in January 2011. Since that time, Cimaglia has been required to have an MRI and a checkup every three months.
Cimaglia’s days soon became filled with hospital stays, treatments and being sick from the very medicine that was saving her. During her extensive and long radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Cimaglia came up with an idea to make eco-friendly bracelets from soda can tabs. The simple idea blossomed into the Tabz-4-Tomorrow Foundation.
During the past year, Cimaglia and her family have raised more than $8,000 by making and selling these bracelets, and she recently received a $1,000 Metta Foundation scholarship in recognition of her “random acts of kindness with no expectation of reward.”
All of the proceeds go to Hasbro’s Tomorrow Fund, the same organization that supported Cimagalia and her family through their toughest times. The Tomorrow Fund at Hasbro Children’s Hospital supports children with cancer and their families. Cimaglia, who feels that she wouldn’t be where she is today were it not for the Tomorrow Fund, said that she needed a special way to say thank you to her heroes. Although she is in remission now, she realizes that someone else’s battle is just beginning. As such, she hopes that her efforts and contributions will positively impact others.