Dave Wojeski/For The Recorder Broadalbin-Perth goalie Rachel Orapello, right, hugs teammate Hannah Priamo prior to Tuesday night's game against Gloversville. The Lady Patriots and several fans wore orange shirts Tuesday in support of Priamo, who is battling childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The proceeds from the fundraising effort went to The Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Albany Medical Center.
By MICHAEL KELLY
BROADALBIN -- As her name was announced Tuesday night with the starters for the Broadalbin-Perth Lady Patriots soccer team before its game against Gloversville, sophomore Hannah Priamo stood still at midfield and declined to take the step forward to acknowledge the roaring crowd at Patriot Field.
This was for two reasons, both of which speak to what makes Priamo one of the special ones.
First, despite everyone gathering to support her just more than a month removed from her being diagnosed with childhood acute lymphoblastic leukemia, Priamo wanted nothing more than for her team's "Go Orange" night to be about supporting others. That's why all the proceeds from the event went to The Melodies Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders at Albany Medical Center.
Secondly, Priamo still has her sense of humor intact.
"I figured everyone kind of knew who I was, so I figured I didn't need to take a step forward," Priamo said, laughing after her team's 4-1 victory on her night.
Just more than a month after she told her teammates that she was going to miss the 2013 season, Priamo's Lady Patriots became "Team Hannah" for Tuesday night's game, during which the club raised more than $3,000 for The Melodies Center in her name. The Lady Patriots wore orange warm-up shirts with "Team Hannah" emblazoned across the chest, the "A" in "Team" substituted out for a ribbon.
In the stands, B-P's traditional red, white and blue colors were on hiatus for the evening, as the packed crowd also sported the orange shirts. Not far from the Lady Patriots' bench hung a pair of banners, one reading "We're in this together," and the other reading "For Hannah," with all of the B-P players' signatures.
"To be able to support Hannah on a night like this and get a win for her is something special," B-P head coach Rob Klug said.
Since her diagnosis, Priamo has stayed close with her team. She has made it to most games and goes to each of her team's practices on the turf at Patriot Field. The only practices she misses are the ones her team conducts on the grassy area down a hill from the back of the high school. Her legs, she said earlier this week, are not up to climbing the hill.
Tuesday night, her team and community helped give her strength. For most of the season, though, it has been Priamo lifting others.
"She is so strong and such a good person," senior teammate Katie Herba said.
"It's really inspiring seeing Hannah," said senior teammate Rachel Orapello. "She's been a part of the soccer family forever. She comes to practice, every summer-league practice, and seeing her be afraid about [her diagnosis] but still go out there, anyway, it's really inspiring for us."
Orapello was standing next to Priamo when B-P athletic director Mike Calvello introduced her on the public address system. With her left hand, Orapello gently pushed Priamo forward to receive her cheers. As Orapello put it, she just wanted to make sure Priamo knew her teammates and community had her back for the road ahead.
"We just want to be with her and support her," Orapello said.