GLENVILLE — Monica Herold has had some good days and some bad days since she was diagnosed with breast cancer last October.
Earlier this week was one of those good days. A real good one. She never saw it coming, though, as she approached the Scotia-Glenville softball complex with only the expectation of watching and rooting as her daughter Bella and her teammates played Broadalbin-Perth in a Foothills Council game.
That game ultimately became just a backdrop Monday afternoon when Monica Herold, as it turned out, was the one being rooted on the most.
“I saw the girls in their shirts and I thought that was so sweet,” Monica Herold said of the pink uniform tops donned by the Tartans, who usually wear red. “I saw Renee [Jahn] and some of the other players’ moms. Balloons were all over the place. When I asked what’s going on, they said, ‘We just want to let you know your daughter loves you.’”
Bella Herold expresses that love in a small way every time she plays, with the words, “All For Mom” written on her cleats. Monday served as a more grandiose gesture for her mother and so many others who are battling breast cancer.
“At the start of the season, I let all of my teammates know that my mom got diagnosed in October,” said Bella Herold, a 17-year-old junior first baseman. “We decided we’d have a day where we would invite everyone in Scotia and have a pink out. Everyone knew except for her.”
Monica Herold said she has undergone three procedures since her breast cancer diagnosis and is currently in the middle of a 20-week session of chemotherapy. Funds to help defray the 44-year-old’s medical costs were raised through a 50-50 raffle, and the selling of gift baskets that were put together by the players and their families, and t-shirts provided by the American Cancer Society. The raffle winner donated their entire prize back to Herold’s cause.
“I was really surprised. It was so special to me and I am so grateful,” Monica Herold, who graduated from Niskayuna High School and resides in Glenville, said of the fete. “I was so honored to be a representative of so many women who are going through the same thing and are fighting like me.”
That fight is being waged by the entire Herold family that, aside from Bella, includes 13-year-old Kassidy, 9-year-old Tommy and their dad, Thomas.
“Bella is such a good kid, and it’s hard for a coach to watch a kid go through this,” Scotia-Glenville softball coach Eric McNulty said. “It would have been very easy for her to take the season off. I think this is an outlet for her.”
Bella Herold said so many people have stepped forward when she’s had her own tough days, including her best friend and volleyball teammate Adrianna Murray. Each of the pink jersey’s — which on the front feature a ribbon denoting breast cancer awareness and the word Tartans in upper case lettering — were made by Murray.
“I have a community and I have my family, my friends and my teammates as a support system,” Bella Herold said. “I don’t have to worry about people having my back.”
So many people had a hand in making Monday’s event a success, including the Broadalbin-Perth players who, like those from Scotia-Glenville, wore pink ribbons in their hair as a sign of unity. Scotia-Glenville building and groundskeeper Mark Cary did his part, too, by lining the field with pink chalk and putting a large breast cancer awareness symbol between the pitching mound and home plate.
“It was wonderful,” Scotia-Glenville athletic director Jamian Rockhill said. “It was a really nice event.”
“As a coach I couldn’t be any prouder of the way they put it together. It was their thing,” said McNulty, whose team is captained by Brenna Jahn and Arianna Stark. “They wanted to do something to raise awareness and support a teammate and her family.”
Scotia-Glenville won the five-inning, mercy-rule shortened game 18-1. Sophie Kownack led the Tartans with four hits, while Herold, Keeley Kristel and Ayanna Nicklas-Ortiz collected three apiece.
“We were definitely motivated,” said Bella Herold, who also knocked in three runs and scored three times. “The baseball team came. Families came. That pushed us to do well.”
McNulty handed a rose to each of his players after the game as they made a procession across home plate, and then handed Monica Herold a bouquet full of them.
“I’m on a journey,” she said. “And I know I’m not walking alone.”