Phoenix Carries Inspiration to NCAA Tournament

Courtesy: Green Bay Athletics
         
Release: March 18, 2011
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Seven-year-old Amelia Gorton was given a picture from her new favorite team

GREEN BAY, Wis. (GreenBayPhoenix.com) - On Feb. 25 the No. 13/11 Green Bay (32-1) women's basketball team was introduced to seven-year-old Amelia Gorton, a cancer survivor diagnosed with leukemia just two days after her second birthday. Throughout two-and-a-half years of going through 155 various treatments, Amelia is not only a happy seven-year-old who likes the color blue, she's also an inspiration to the Phoenix.

"She shows us that there are things a lot bigger than basketball and we're not just here to play," said Hannah Quilling (Eau Claire, Wis.). "We can use basketball as a tool to inspire others like Amelia has inspired us."

At the practice prior to Green Bay's final regular-season home game, which was also the annual PinkZone game, Amelia and her mom Mary came to practice to meet the team for the first time. Mary shared her daughter's story with the team and with tear-filled eyes, the players held onto the long strands of what Mary and Amelia call "Bravery Beads". For each treatment Amelia endured in her long two-and-a-half year battle, she received a bravery bead.

"She has an amazing story and showed amazing strength in everything she's been through and still came out with a smile," said Quilling.

Amelia sat on the bench with the team during its PinkZone game against Butler on Feb. 26 and immediately became a huge Phoenix basketball fan as the team became a fan of Amelia in return.

Following the game against Butler, Amelia told her mom the team won "because they were brave," and that she wanted to share her beads with them.

Amelia visited the team before it began Horizon League Tournament play and gave each player a bravery bead to wear on their shoe.

"It's a constant reminder that situations do get tough and it's about how you handle them and the person you'll be when you come out of them," Quilling said.

Amelia and her family will be making the trip to Wichita, Kan., to cheer on the Phoenix in Sunday's first round game against UALR (23-7) at 4:20 p.m. on ESPN2, but before leaving Green Bay, Amelia sent the team off with a special care package that contained the following:

PUZZLE PIECE - because you are an important part of the team.

RUBBERBAND - to be flexible.

STICK OF GUM - stick with it.

HAPPY FACE STICKER - to smile.

MINT - keep cool under pressure.

PENNY - give you the sense to pick your battles.

PAPER CLIP - to keep it together.

ERASER - we all make mistakes.

LOLLIPOP - because you're so sweet.

STARBURST - to give you a burst of energy.

HUGS & KISSES - Love, Amelia.

Every player knows its journey in the NCAA Tournament will not be easy, but when there are struggles, they can take one look down at their shoe and be brave.

To view a photo gallery of Amelia's most recent visit with the team, click here.

SCHEDULE
Schedule Sponsor
Saturday , January 31
Women's Basketball 
at UIC
7:00 PM
Chicago, Ill. (UIC Pavilion)
 | ESPN3  | HLN  | Live Stats ESPN3  | WNFL  
Wednesday, February 04
Women's Basketball 
vs. Oakland (Country Inn & Suites Fun Balls Giveaway)
7:00 PM
KRESS CENTER
 | Stats
 | Live Stats TWC SportsChannel/ESPN3  | Tickets  
Saturday , February 07
Women's Basketball 
vs. Cleveland State (Festival Foods Family Game/Alumni Day)
1:00 PM
KRESS CENTER
 | Stats
 | Live Stats ESPN3  | Tickets  
Thursday , February 12
Women's Basketball 
vs. Wright State (Wisconsin Milk Mktg. Board Trading Card Giveaway)
7:00 PM
KRESS CENTER
 | Stats
 | Live Stats TWC SportsChannel/ESPN3  | Tickets  
Saturday , February 14
Women's Basketball 
at Milwaukee
2:00 PM
Milwaukee, Wis. (Klotsche Center)
 | Live Stats TWC SportsChannel/ESPN3  
Thursday , February 19
Women's Basketball 
vs. Valparaiso (DigiCopy Team Poster Giveaway)
7:00 PM
KRESS CENTER
 | Stats
 | Live Stats ESPN3  | Tickets  
Saturday , February 21
Women's Basketball 
vs. UIC (Prevea PinkZone)
1:00 PM
KRESS CENTER
 | Stats
 | Live Stats ESPN3  | Tickets  
Thursday , February 26
Women's Basketball 
at Oakland
6:00 PM
Rochester, Mich. (Athletics Center O'rena)
 | Live Stats ESPN3  
Saturday , February 28
Women's Basketball 
at Youngstown State
3:30 PM
Youngstown, Ohio (Beeghly Center)
 | Live Stats ESPN3  
Saturday , March 07
Women's Basketball 
vs. Detroit (Cellcom Bag Giveaway/Food Drive/Senior Day/Parents Day)
1:00 PM
KRESS CENTER
 | Stats
 | Live Stats ESPN3  | Tickets  
Wednesday, March 11
Women's Basketball 
at Quarterfinals
TBA
TBD
ESPN3  
Friday , March 13
Women's Basketball 
at Semifinals
TBA
TBD
ESPN3  
Sunday , March 15
Women's Basketball 
at Finals
2:00 PM
TBD
ESPNU/WatchESPN  
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