‘Cats for Coach’ wristbands return

“Cats for Coach” wristbands on sale for the second time to raise money for cross-country Coach Jason Whitworth, who learned of his diagnosis of Lou Gehrig’s disease last semester.

“I look at him like he’s my son,” language arts teacher Susan Woyshner said. “It is really tearing me up as young as he is. He is an inspiration.”

The idea originated from small talk at a sophomore class homeroom meeting. Math teacher Annamae Milligan sent an email to Woyshner suggesting a way to raise money for Whitworth that same day.

“Knowing what he is going to be going through and knowing the expenses and so forth that his family will be facing, the bands are for whatever he needs them for,” Woyshner said. “[The funds] are going to be his choice.”

Each blue wristband is engraved with “Cats for Coach” and Whitworth’s favorite saying “Never Give Up,” accompanied by a paw print.

The bands are now being sold by Milligan and Woyshner for $5 during lunch unlike the first shipment, which was sponsored by the sophomore class.

The cost to produce each band is 79 cents, which leaves a $4.21 profit per band to go directly to Whitworth.

“I can honestly say [the original bands] sold themselves,” Woyshner said. “It so exemplifies what West Shore is all about.”

Approximately $970 was raised initially. The second shipment of 250 bands is expected to be sold out in the next one to two weeks as students buy several at a time.

“It’s a little bit of peace of mind for coach and his family,” Woyshner said. “I know from a personal standpoint, when everybody at this school jumped forward and helped me when my husband died.”

Whitworth is viewed as a friendly, positive and fun coach around school campus.

“[Coach Whitworth] made my eighth-grade year enjoyable and I’m so sad to see what happened,” freshman Kaitlin Inganna said. “[The bands] give me an opportunity to contribute to his cause.”

By Taylor Eenhuis