For most Georgia football players, this weekend after the Auburn game was fairly routine. They arrived back in Athens late after the win and slept in some Sunday morning before heading out to whatever their scheduled activity was for the day.
For Kelee Ringo, he was lifting weights. But midway through, Ringo left to meet up with the most important person in his life, his mother. Tralee Hale was waiting for him along with Dwight Standridge of the local Athens charity Bulldogs Battling Breast Cancer.
Most Georgia fans are familiar with Tralee Hale’s story. She has become popular on social media due to her involvement in Kelee’s recruiting, fun posts, and passion for her son. They know that as a single mom, she intended to move to Athens with her son Kelee but was diagnosed with breast cancer the week after he left.
They know that plan was put on hold as she underwent months of chemotherapy and a mastectomy.
Dawg Nation rallied around her, contributing thousands of dollars to her GoFundMe as she could no longer work. They know that despite experiencing a plethora of horrific symptoms from her treatment and being on her “deathbed,” as she described it that she still flew from Phoenix to Athens to help take care of her son after his shoulder surgery last season because that’s the strength of a mother’s love.
And that’s the love that Georgia fans saw a few weeks ago when a photographer captured Hale in the front row of Sanford Stadium, decked out in red and black and screaming with excitement over her son’s first career interception.
What Bulldog fans might not know is that Tralee Hale’s fight is not over. After pausing chemo due to complications from her mastectomy, Hale started another round of chemotherapy this past Sunday.
The first round of chemo was, according to Hale, “emotionally difficult because of the relationship my son and I had.” Hale had no plans to be an empty nester, and she had to remain in Arizona for the duration of her treatment while Kelee was over a thousand miles away in Athens.
This time, while Hale is not looking forward to the onslaught of symptoms, she is thankful to be undergoing her treatment in Athens near her son.
And being closer to Kelee allows for moments like the one that happened on Sunday. Because Tralee Hale isn’t just fighting for herself and her son — she’s fighting for other women.
So when Dwight Standridge and the BBBC reached out to her about helping them raise awareness for the fight against breast cancer, Tralee Hale didn’t hesitate.
So Sunday afternoon, Hale, Ringo, and Standridge gathered together to make a video for the BBBC, sharing their story and highlighting the importance of early detection and the work the BBBC is doing in the community. BBBC and the Ringo’s worked with Tim Baker Photography to make the video happen, and it’s exciting to see them share their story.
When asked about the filming, Hale said, “It went great” and that she’s excited for the Bulldog family to see it. After how supportive they have been the last year, with many sending anonymous messages that she said, “pulled me through” chemo, Hale knows that Dawg Nation has her and her son’s back as they fight breast cancer together.
"“Athens is a tight community. I’m very thankful to have a voice and be able to use it because I know the Dawg family will respond.”"
But in true mother fashion, Tralee Hale once again directed the conversation away from her strength and her fight, choosing instead to focus on her son: “I am so very proud of my son for volunteering his time to assist me in my advocacy.”
While Hale is looking forward to seeing Dawg Nation’s reaction and response to the video, she is also looking forward to Saturday, when fans will gather to Pink out Sanford.
“I’m really excited from speaking with Dwight about the UGA Paint Line and Spike Squad,” Hale said. I asked if she was planning on attending the game if she felt up to it, and in her usual fun, exuberant manner Hale responded, “Girl, yes! I’m not missing a game.”
So not only will she get to see the UGA Paint Line and Spike Squad decked out in pink from head to toe as they cheer on the Dawgs and raise awareness for breast cancer, Hale will be participating as well, adding that Standridge is making her a pair of pink savage pads to wear at the game.
So, take a few minutes today and watch the BBBC video with Tralee Hale and Kelee Ringo.
Whether you’re at home or the game, wear pink and share your photos on social media as you cheer on the Dawgs and help Pink Out Sanford. And if you’re in the stadium, keep an eye out for the woman in pink savage pads cheering the loudest for her favorite person, number five, and be sure to tell her that all of Dawg Nation is cheering and fighting for her too.
All quotes in this article were obtained directly in person by the author unless otherwise noted.