This Friday, Bearcat Stadium will be filled with fans and friends all wearing pink to commemorate of the Pink Out game, which has become a tradition because of Marsha Jo Fry, a beloved Ballinger home economics teacher who was stricken by breast cancer and ultimately succumbed to the disease eight years ago.

This Friday, Bearcat Stadium will be filled with fans and friends all wearing pink to commemorate of the Pink Out game, which has become a tradition because of Marsha Jo Fry, a beloved Ballinger home economics teacher who was stricken by breast cancer and ultimately succumbed to the disease eight years ago.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month and we remember Martha, along with all of the other families, friends, mothers, daughters and sisters who have been affected by this disease.

On Friday night, Bearcat Stadium will be decked out in pink for the Pink Out Game which became a Bearcat tradition after Marsha succumbed to the breast cancer in 2009. The event is organized and sponsored by the Family Careerand Community Leaders of America at Ballinger High School.

Marsha was diagnosed in 2007, said her lifelong friend and team teacher Carolyn Flanagan, who I interviewed back in 2015. Marsha fought a valiant battle with the horrible disease until the very end. Martha died July 24, 2009 after fighting the disease for a year and a half.

Marsha was a teacher in Ballinger ISD for 24 years, and started her career back when the discipline was called “homemaking.”

Marsha and Carolyn where peas of a pod and the two worked side by side, with only a room divider between them for more than 20 years.

“We were dear friends,” Carolyn told me then. “Like sisters.”

The two spent their careers, teaching side by side and traveling with students together to places like California and Washington, D.C.

Carolyn was there just after Marsha received the grim diagnosis in January of 2008. And she was there when Marsha started chemo therapy and had to shave her head.

“I sat on the floor at her feet as they shaved her head,” Carolyn recalled. “Then we went to buy wigs together – I watched as she fought.”

Carolyn had retired in 2006, but Marsha, did not, choosing to keep working because, Carolyn said “her students gave her strength.”

Her students watched her lose her strength but throughout the journey, which Carolyn called “wonderful and sad,” Marsha soldiered on because of her strong faith.

“Whatever I do is to the glory of God, “Carolyn recalled her saying many times.

Those who remember her know that Marsha had a laugh that was contagious and that she was filled with joy.

In watching her journey, her students learned how to cope through the bad times. Her friends saw her coping with strength and grace.

Carolyn learned not to put off getting a mammogram.

“She made me get a mammogram,” Carolyn said. “I started being faithful with that. She was a wonderful example and a good dear friend.”

Carolyn said the love of her sons and Aaron and Brandon and her husband Mike was paramount during her journey.

Marsha died with her loved ones by her side at MD Anderson in Houston. Following her death, family, friends, colleagues, students and former students packed the auditorium at Ballinger High School to honor her memory.

The following year, the Pink Out events were started by then Family and Consumer Science teacher Ashley McIlraby and now, Julie Halfmann, is leading the effort with her students.

Halfmann has called Marsha and Carolyn her mentors, who worked with her when she began working as a home economics teacher in 1993 in Bronte.

“They were so gracious to me and now I am teaching in their facility,” Halfmann said.

Once again this year, the message of courage, grace and encouragement, showed the community the example of all that Marsha stood for throughout her life.

But the key message is “early detection.”

“She regretted not going sooner and encouraged everyone to keep up with their checkups,” Carolyn said.

And Marsha’s legacy is commemorated best in the words of her doctor and friend, Dr. Frankie Holmes.

“If will, grit and determination could cure breast cancer, she would have been cured before diagnosis.” Holmes wrote.

Celinda Hawkins is the managing editor of the Runnels County Register and can be reached by calling 432-349-2736 or via email at chawkins@ballingerledger.com.