Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Leap Towards a Cure

In the fall of 1993, my home room teacher was a large, loud, friendly woman named Mrs. Henderson. Everyone called her 'Froggy' and she was beloved by all who met her. She wasn't afraid to tell it like it was, but was also one of the few adults that would truly listen if you had a problem or just needed to talk. For me, she was the teacher I went to when I wanted to try to get the school a hockey team.

While it certainly wasn't something she'd have actively done on her own, she gladly provided her name as a sponsor and set out to do the leg work to help make my dream a reality. While I graduated a few years before my dream was realized, Froggy continued fighting on with new students, passionate about the game of hockey. A few seasons later, in 1998, the school finally got its hockey team and Mrs. Henderson was the key reason behind it.

We lost Froggy this past spring, but we'll never forget her. A few of those passionate former students and hockey players have decided to start up a memorial fund in Mrs. Henderson's honor and as the first way to help raise money for it, they're holding a charity adult hockey tournament on August 6-7 at the Gardens Ice House in Laurel, MD. It's actually more of a hockey 'event', with a charity auction, art show, hockey skills competition-type stations and much, much more. All the details are below. It should be an amazing weekend in honor of an amazing woman.

High school hockey alumni leap towards a cure

LAUREL, Md. – Following the death of art teacher, mentor and friend, Andrea “Froggy” Henderson, Eleanor Roosevelt High School alumni have become reacquainted in efforts to leap towards a cure, forming the Andrea Henderson Memorial Fund.

The Andrea Henderson Memorial Fund, set up by ERHS alumni Jason Harab and Abram Fox, is a trust set up in honor of the late art teacher to benefit cancer research at the Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins, where Henderson was receiving treatments for breast cancer.

On August 6 -7, 2010, the Andrea Henderson Memorial Fund will be hosting its inaugural event, “Leap Towards a Cure,” a charity adult hockey tournament.

The tournament focuses on a family friendly environment. Saturday, August 7, the Gardens Ice House roller hockey floor will be used as an event venue to hold the student art gallery, a silent auction, hockey activities, including an accuracy station and a shooting speed station, and a full days worth of ice hockey. Local area mascots, such as Washington Capitals Slapshot and Bowie Baysox Louie, will also be present to sign autographs.

There will also be an ERHS Ice Raiders Alumni game with intermission entertainment -“Mites on Ice” featuring the Fighting Falcons, Chuck-A-Puck, and an obstacle course to get the crowd involved.

In addition, all players and spectators are invited to partake in a continental breakfast, lunch spread and a dinner catered by Outback Steakhouse.

Henderson, who lost her short battle with breast cancer on April 12, 2010, was the ERHS Ice Raiders hockey team sponsor from its inaugural season in 1998 through 2008. She was not only the high school art teacher and hockey team sponsor, but a second mother, inspiration, and shoulder to lean on to many. In an interview on Jimmy Kimmel Live, Martin Lawrence, ERHS class of 1984 alum, credited Henderson with helping him get his comedy career off the ground by encouraging him to go to clubs to learn and perform.

Abram Fox, class of 2001 and co-founder and vice chairman of the Andrea Henderson Memorial Fund, says his love of art and art history was inspired by taking Henderson’s Advanced Placement Art class, and is currently seeking his doctorate in art history at the University of Maryland, College Park.

Upon hearing of her failing health, Jason Harab, co-founder and chairman, began thinking of ways to honor Henderson. “I wanted to bring all of the guys back together, let them know Frog was sick and figure out a way to do something good in her honor.” Harab, the oldest of three brothers, all of whom played for the Ice Raiders, never took her art classes, but still considers her “the best teacher [he] ever had.”

“I got some of the old team together and decided the best way to do this with as many people as she touched would be to do a huge community event, doing what we all do best – play hockey,” says Harab.

“Froggy was very important to all of us, and she kind of brought us all together in a way and did so much for everyone – on the team, at school, in the community – so it is really important that we do a little good back for her after all she did for us,” says Alyssa Walker, class of 2006.

Henderson taught art at Eleanor Roosevelt High School in Greenbelt from its opening in 1976 to 2008. Mother of two sons, neither of which played hockey themselves, Henderson still took on the role of the hockey team sponsor in 1998 knowing nothing about the sport.

Henderson, 60, grew up in New York and was the eldest of three children. She is survived by her mother, Alice; her brother, John; sister, Meredith; and two sons Joshua and Adam. Her large, booming personality and even larger heart touched innumerable lives in the hockey community, at school, and with everyone she came in contact to.

For more information please contact Alyssa Walker or Jason Harab at info@leaptowardsacure.com or by phone at 301-541-FROG.


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