Russell Athletic chooses Edmonson School for Dylan award
Russell Athletic announced that Edmonson County High School in Brownsville, KY, has been named winner of the inaugural "Fight Like Dylan Award," which memorializes the late Dylan Rebeor of Columbia, TN, a high school football player who waged a valiant battle with colon cancer, while putting his teammates and others before himself, prior to succumbing to the disease at the age of 16.
Edmonson County High School's football team, who banded together to find success following the news of three-year starting offensive lineman Jacob Irwin being diagnosed with cancer during his senior season in 2010, will receive a $50,000 uniform and equipment grant from Russell Athletic and be honored at today's Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl in Phoenix.
"The situation Edmonson County High School, its football team and, of course, Jacob's family, faced was certainly tragic, but how they came together was nothing short of inspirational," said Gary Barfield, executive vice president, Russell Brands, LLC.
"We're moved by how everyone affected by the loss of Jacob rallied together to support each other and we're grateful to have the opportunity to honor the memory of Dylan Rebeor, while also paying forward Dylan's selflessness to Edmonson County High School community."
Irwin's perseverance and determination to beat the disease that ultimately claimed his life in July 2011, as well as his warm-heartedness and generous personality, set the tone for the 2011 Edmonson County High School team, who drew on his strength as they finished their regular season 10-0 for only the second time in school history (1976) and claimed their first district championship since 1986.
Edmonson County High School was selected from a pool of nominees as the inaugural "Fight Like Dylan Award" winner by a panel of judges including former Indianapolis Colts head coach Tony Dungy, Cleveland Browns quarterback Colt McCoy, as well as Dylan's mother Heather Rebeor and his former head football coach at Columbia Central High School, Vance Belew.
"Hearing Jacob's story and then learning how Edmonson County High School, the football team and even the community all bonded together was uplifting," said Heather Rebeor, Dylan's mother. "I hope Jacob's memory lives on and he, like Dylan, continues to serve as a reminder to those he touched to never give up when facing difficult challenges."
Earlier this year, Russell Athletic announced it would honor a team who overcame a challenge in the face of true adversity while reflecting the ideals and spirit that Rebeor demonstrated in his own life. Rebeor, a wide receiver on Columbia Central High School's football team, died in Dec. 2010, just hours before his team won their first state championship in 58 years.
Reflective of Rebeor's character and consideration of others, rather than asking the Make-A-Wish Foundation for a trip to Hawaii, or the opportunity to meet his favorite athlete,his final, selfless desire was for his beloved team to receive brand new uniforms and equipment for the 2011 season.