Head of the Hooch: In the Face of Tragedy Florida Teens Row for - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Head of the Hooch: In the Face of Tragedy Florida Teens Row for the Cure

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By Megan Boatwright, Eyewitness News Reporter

A group of Florida teens are rowing for a cure.  More than 9,000 rowers are on the Tennessee River for the 6th annual Head of the Hooch.  Among them the 'Sarasota Scullers'. 

For the last 4 years the Sarasota Scullers watched as the mother of one of their own battled breast cancer.  Julian Blythe a Sophomores, lost his mom just two days ago but with the support of his teammates he found the strength to compete in Head of the Hooch Saturday.

"This year the Hooch raised a little over $13,000 for Susan G. Komen," says Deb Ferrell with 'Row for the Cure'.

Amidst the sea of boats and atheletes at Ross's Landing Saturday, every once in awhile you'll catch a glimpse of a pink.

"Before we found out she had passed our varsity girls decided to wear pink ribbons in our hair,"  says Senior Tory Hetman. 

In the face of tragedy the Sarasota Scullers row team from the Sarasota, Fl. came together like never before.

"It started a few years ago," says Junior, Katie Allen, whose mother is also battling breast cancer, "last year the cancer metastasized to her bones and liver." 

On Thursday the Scullers learned the mother of one of their teammates had suddenly succumbed to the breast cancer she'd been fighting for 4 years.

"She helped out in our food committee," says Jo Mihm, a close friends to Julian.  "She was in our regatta last weekend in Philidelphia." 

After that last trip things took a turn for the worse for the middle aged mom, but that didn't stop her son from being with his team this weekend.

"He's doing great. He rode in a quad Saturday," says Mihm. 

As a designated 'Row for the Cure' team, the girls are already decked in pink.  After learning of the sudden loss the rest of the team joined them.

"One of the parents purchased pink head bands for everyone," says Hetman. 

Boy or girl, if you're a Sarasota Sculler this weekend pink is your color and the team is happy to do it.  For the mother and son who've endured so much. 

"Our 20 minutes in the water doesn't compare to the 4 years she worked fighting that cancer," says Mihm.  "She had so much endurance, strength and determination." 

"He doesn't want this to affect us in a negative way," says Hetman.  "I think we've used this to realize how important our team is.  We need to be there for each other." 

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