|Nick Bowman goes for an extra point with wide receiver Austin King, a Highlands junior who is a holder for Bowman on special teams. Photo by Allen Ramsey, DWC.|
During Highlands High School junior Nick Bowman's offseason training, one of his trainers from Kohl's Kicking mentioned a program called Kick-It Champions at a training camp. Part of Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, Kick-It Champions is a national, volunteer-driven effort focused solely on raising money for childhood cancer research.
Student athletes and teams become "champions" but turning their stats into research dollars. The dollars raised all go to Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation, an organization dedicated to raising money and awareness of childhood cancer causes and research into new treatments.
Bowman says athletes and teams create their own personalized fundraising webpage where family, friends and donors can either make a one-time donation or they can pledge a dollar amount per extra point and field goal. For example: $1 per point x 50 points = $50.
"I thought it sounded like a great idea," Bowman says. "I wanted to bring Kick-It to Highlands because I was really hopeful that the Fort Thomas community would get behind the idea and support the fundraiser idea. Plus, it's a great way to tie something the team and community love—football—and raising funds for meaningful cause. We have such a generous community here in Fort Thomas."
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As student coordinator, Bowman created and manages the team's fundraising webpage. He also helps advertise the program, creating awareness for the fundraiser through social media, emails and in conversation.
Highlands High School football coach Brian Weinrich says he knew nothing about what Nick was doing. "The only reason I found out about it was he needed my permission to post it on Twitter or something like that," Weinrich says. "It doesn't surprise me thought that I didn't know anything about it—that is who Nick Bowman is. He is a selfless person and the consummate team plater, always wanting to do what he can for the betterment of the team. He never asks why, he just does whatever is needed. As coaches and teachers at Highlands, we are always trying to put the students in situations that they understand the idea of helping others. We are all so proud of Nick and what he represents."
Bowman says cancer has impacted his family significantly the last several years. "My mother was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in her eye, ocular melanoma," he says. "Also, my grandfather was diagnosed with lymphoma. It was also during this time that I met a high school classmate and football teammate who was receiving treatment for his cancer. He is a great guy and I was really inspired by his determination."
So far the Highlands Football team has raised close to $1,000.
"I have received some great feedback from parents, players and coaches," Bowman says. "They have all been very encouraging and think it's a great idea. Coach Weinrich was very supportive. We all know someone whose life has been impacted by cancer. So they think it's a great idea to merge football and fundraising for a great cause together."
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To donate or pledge, go here. For questions about the program, you can contact Bowman at (859) 250-2755.
"Funding for all cancer research is critical," Bowman says. "However, I believe pediatric cancer research is extremely important because finding a cure for pediatric cancer is putting hope and life back into the child and family."