Brookfield opponents set aside rivalry to fight cancer

They may be fierce competitors on the field, but ahead of the Brookfield East and Brookfield Central football game, they're putting their crosstown rivalry aside for a good cause.

"It's a special night where we can bring the community together," said Ben Farley, Brookfield East football coach.

This week, the two schools came together for their 9th Annual Gold Out Football Game for Childhood Cancer.

"The Gold Out is a game we hold every year and it's the annual East versus Central game and instead of being rivals, we like to make it a fundraiser where we raise money for childhood cancer and spread awareness," said Amelia Ochotnicky, Brookfield East Key Club President.

Both school's Key Clubs also raised money by selling over 1,400 shirts to benefit the Little Warrior Foundation. They raised around $5,000.

"Raising awareness for childhood cancer is really what we're trying to do," said Ronn Blaha, Brookfield Central's Key Club advisor. "The kids knew they were supporting a cause, something bigger than themselves. Everybody has been touched by cancer in some way, and to know that there are students walking around Brookfield Central and Brookfield East that have been impacted by it, they have to feel pretty good about it too that their classmates are supporting them."

Maggie Spada started The Little Warrior Foundation ( in 2020 with the sole purpose of having all the money go toward childhood cancer research.

Her daughter Lucy has been cancer free for a year.

"It means everything," said Maggie Spada, founder of the Little Warrior Foundation. "Children's cancer is so underfunded in this country, so advancing research really does rely on financial support from foundations like ours. Having the support of the local community is so important."

RELATED: Check out the new and improved FOX Sports app

Also hoping to raise awareness were Brookfield East junior Megan Schatz and Brookfield Central junior Katie McCardle.

Megan was diagnosed with a rare type of Leukemia this April. Her prognosis is good.

Meanwhile, Katie survived her battle with Osteosarcoma, a cancerous bone tumor in her right femur when she was just 13, but it was an even more difficult journey because she was born with a severe heart defect.

Both girls also talked before the big game.

"I just want to share my story and then tell them like this is a real thing kids go through, and I really don't want, I want to end cancer because no one should have to go through this, so the donations and research really help," said Megan Schatz, Brookfield East junior.

"I hope to inspire them by saying how much donations help, just everyone in general and just how a little bit can help a patient come so far," said Katie McCardle, Brookfield Central junior.

And tonight's Gold Out meant that much more.

"It's crazy," said Schatz. "I've seen that throughout my treatment times and how the little things I've done before are now a lot more meaningful. It's cool to see now from my point of view how much of an impact the donations make."

Raising funds and awareness for childhood cancer was the main goal, and the Spartans and Lancers are proof that while rivalry games are important, there's nothing like joining forces to tackle a big cause together.