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Winning for Waterman

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PRHS junior was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma and the community comes together in support of him.

Junior Braden Waterman takes control of the basketball. He shows his athletic ability on the basketball court.

After junior Braden Waterman was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma, the Paso Robles community came together to raise funds, awareness, and support for the beloved Bearcat athlete.

For many games during the winter season, parents and supporters wore violet-and-black or violet-and-white shirts christened “Braden Crew.” As a result, the color violet filled the gym in awareness of Hodgkin lymphoma (HL), which Waterman made public January 9, 2020. The PRHS Advanced Leadership class organized the event to raise money for Waterman family.

HL is a cancer that attacks white blood cells and prevents the body from fighting any sort of illness, even a common cold. About 5,000 Americans will be diagnosed with HL this year according to ASCO. 

“The doctor came in and told me that I had Hodgkin Lymphoma cancer and that if there was any cancer I wanted, it was this one,” Waterman said.

The PRHS varsity football quarterback and varsity basketball player now faces a long road to recovery. Many PRHS students, family, and friends are standing by his side, including his best friend, Senior Gerald Norte, who became friends with Waterman playing basketball, leads the array of PRHS students, family, and friends standing by his side. 

“Our friendship means more than anything to me because I know if it was switched around, he’d be doing the same thing for me. It’s the best having the friendship that we have and we came to the conclusion that no one can break the bond we have,” Norte said.

Senior Gerald Norte and Junior Braden Waterman pose in front of Cal State Berkeley. The two travel together because of their close bond.

Norte continuously visits Waterman almost everyday, using most of his free time to spend time with his teammate and athlete. The two played both football and basketball together. They were inseparable before he received the news. 

“I want him to hear that I’m always here and that I know he can count on me for anything because I’ll never turn my back on him. I would want him to say that he knows I’m here and that we’re always gonna be close,” Norte said. 

The PRHS ASB Leadership class was quick to jump on the opportunity to help Waterman out in any way possible. Waterman and his younger brother Bryson Waterman have been part of the class this year and have contributed a lot of their time to help with fundraisers. Junior Presley Escalante, web director for the class, was in charge of organizing Waterman’s support campaign. 

“[Because] I’m the director of web and media and I have connections to a lot of people, they thought it would be best to put me in charge of the campaign. I wanted to bring as much publicity as we could by posting it on all our social media and getting the word out and not making it just a school thing,” Escalante said.  

There has been support from all communities surrounding PRHS. Waterman has been a part of club sports teams who have also supported him through this time. 

“The support has been great from everyone not only from our school but from other schools as well,” Waterman mentioned. 

Between PRHS leadership class and the community of Paso Robles, people have come together in order to support Waterman. The varsity basketball team brought attention to honor Waterman as a way to bring the community together.

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