May 2, 2018, Agua Dulce CA–Vasquez High School students in Acton are preparing for their 6th Annual Powderpuff Football Game benefiting Jack’s Angels, a local charity dedicated to awareness and research for DIPG, the deadliest pediatric brain cancer, and advocacy for children with cancer. The Powderpuff Game began in 2013 with then Senior students Oren Dye and Brandi Beltrane, and newly appointed Principal Ty Devoe of Vasquez High School, were inspired to create an event to benefit the new 501(c)3 charity in Agua Dulce, Jack’s Angels. Little Jack Demeter, just 3 yrs 11 months old, had died in July of 2012 from the effects of DIPG, diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a deadly pediatric brain cancer with a less than 1% survival rate. His mother Janet, Jack’s Angels founder, was determined to start something which would invariably help lead to solutions to the disease, which has seen no progress in treatment nor terminal prognosis in over 50 years of clinical observation.
With student and faculty coaching of the skilled girls who took no prisoners, and a full-on cheer squad of enthusiastic young men with a flair for humor and exhibitionism, the first Powderpuff Football Game in May of 2013 made for an unforgettably enjoyable experience and has continued to entertain the locals and provide civic engagement for the kids for the last 6 years. “Those girls are bad-ass; I wouldn’t want to play them,” remarked JV football player at the school while watching the first game, with similar echoes in the years following, noticed Janet Demeter. “Each year the game has been exciting–I hope this year that we’re able to bring out more people to enjoy it! Many don’t realize that our community has been, in part, essential to the beginnings of the DIPG Awareness Movement, which is a powerful asset to childhood cancer awareness in our country today.”
Due to the leading support of Vasquez High School and a handful of private donors, Jack’s Angels has managed to raise greater awareness to pediatric brain cancer at the state and federal levels. In 2014, California passed the first-ever DIPG Awareness Resolution; last year, 22 states including California had such a Resolution. Congressman Steve Knight (R-CA-25) who was State Senator in 2014, introduced the first National DIPG Awareness Resolution to US Congress in 2016, and again in 2017, still awaiting a House vote amid the movement in the States. The national consensus among the states in 2016-17 was May 17 as DIPG Awareness Day, as May is Brain Tumor Awareness Month, and so it was adopted by the National Resolution H.Res.69.
H.Res.69 suggests that pediatric and high-risk cancers have greater consideration in the research grant process with public and private funding sources. Currently, DIPG research is funded almost entirely by the collective work of foundations led by bereaved parents. Brain cancer is the leading cause of death in children with cancer; of those deaths, DIPG is responsible for the majority, yet it remains one of the least-funded areas of research. This year, the VHS Powderpuff Football Game is on May 17, the first nationally celebrated DIPG Awareness Day, made possible in part by the caring spirit of Vasquez High School.
The event opens at 6pm, with the kick-off at 6:30pm on Thursday, May 17 at Jorgensen Field, 33630 Red Rover Mine Rd., in Acton. Prepare to see exciting football, novel cheer routines; the roving purple Mustang mascot usually makes an appearance, and tickets are on site only. For more information about Jack’s Angels, or H.Res.69, visit www.jacksangels.org, and www.hres69.org, or visit them on Facebook.
Jack’s Angels Foundation
32520 Wagon Wheel Rd.
Agua Dulce, CA 91390