Kendra Cimaglia, a junior at Johnston High School, faced the fight of her life just a few short years ago. Now healthy, the high school cheeleader is being recognized nationally as embodying the spirit of sport.
Cimaglia has been selected as the 2013 Section 1 recipient of the “National High School Spirit of Sport Award” by the National Federation of State High School Associations. The National High School Spirit of Sport Award was created by the NFHS to recognize those individuals who exemplify the ideals of the spirit of sport that represent the core mission of education-based athletics.
Cimaglia, who is a member of the Johnston High School soccer and ice hockey cheerleading squad, was faced with the battle of her life as a 14-year-old freshman at LaSalle Academy when she was diagnosed with Medulloblastoma (malignant brain cancer).
In September 2010, she had surgery to remove the tumor and subsequently began radiation treatments for six weeks. Cimaglia transferred to Johnston High School, and the radiation was followed by nine cycles of chemotherapy, which ended in January 2011. Since that time, Cimaglia has been required to have an MRI and a check-up every three months.
Cimaglia’s days soon became filled with hospital stays, treatments and being sick from the very medicine that was saving her. During her extensive and long radiation and chemotherapy treatments, Cimaglia came up with a unique idea to make eco-friendly bracelets from soda can tabs.
The simple idea blossomed into the Tabz-4-Tomorrow Foundation. The past year, Cimaglia and her family have raised more than $8,000 by making and selling these bracelets, and she recently received a $1,000 Metta Foundation scholarship in recognition of her “random acts of kindness with no expectation of reward.”
All of the proceeds go to Hasbro’s Tomorrow Fund, the same organization that supported Cimagalia and her family through their toughest times. The Tomorrow Fund at Hasbro’s Children’s Hospital in Providence supports children with cancer and their families.
Cimaglia, who feels that she wouldn’t be where she is today were it not for the Tomorrow Fund, said that she needed a special way to say thank-you to her heroes. Although she is in remission now and her story is ending, she realizes that someone else’s story is just beginning. As such, she hopes that her efforts and contributions will positively impact others.
About the Award
The NFHS divides the nation into eight geographical sections. The states in Section 1 are Rhode Island, Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, New York, Massachusetts, Connecticut and New Jersey.
Nominations for this award were generated through NFHS member state associations and reviewed by the NFHS Spirit of Sport Award Selection Committee composed of state association staff members.
While the national winner will be recognized June 24 at the NFHS Summer Meeting in Denver, the section winners will be recognized within their respective states and will receive awards before the end of the current school year.
About the National Federation of State High School Associations
The NFHS, based in Indianapolis, Indiana, is the national leadership organization for high school sports and fine arts activities. Since 1920, the NFHS has led the development of education-based interscholastic sports and fine arts activities that help students succeed in their lives.
The NFHS sets direction for the future by building awareness and support, improving the participation experience, establishing consistent standards and rules for competition, and helping those who oversee high school sports and activities. The NFHS writes playing rules for 17 sports for boys and girls at the high school level.
Through its 50 member state associations and the District of Columbia, the NFHS reaches more than 19,000 high schools and 11 million participants in high school activity programs, including more than 7.6 million in high school sports.
For more information, visit the NFHS website.