Rival squad reaches out to cheerleader with cancer

Rival squad reaches out to cheerleader with cancer

SPOKANE, Wash. - Grace Petrusek was excited to join the Gonzaga Prep cheer squad for the first time this year.

"She's such a kind and loving person and she just wants to be an uplifting person you can always go," said Petrusek's best friend and Gonzaga Prep cheerleader, Brigid Reppti.

Her fun times on the squad quickly came to a halt. Just a few months into the football season, the 15-year-old was diagnosed with Hodgkins Lymphoma.?

"It was devastating to hear. She is a huge part of our squad and it's really sad," said Gonzaga Prep Cheer Coach, Adriana Berndt. 

"It was really hard. I honestly immediately started crying and hugged her and didn't imagine it was real. It didn't feel like it was real," Reppti said.

At the Gonzaga Prep football game against Lewis and Clark, the opposing cheer squad did something unexpected for Petrusek.

"And so we thought 'why not get a sign?' and have all the leaders in our school sign it. So, we had football cheer and leadership sign for Grace," said Lewis and Clark cheerleader, Kennedy Nanger.

"Just kind words to help her through tough situation," she said.

"All of us girls just signed it and said 'we support you and want to be there for you,'" said Lewis and Clark cheerleader, Mariah Snyder.

Two signs made by cheerleaders Grace has never met and something that she wouldn't get to see because she was in the hospital.

"It was extremely heartwarming another school, a rival school took the time," Berndt said.

"We knew she was here in spirit that day," said Lewis and Clark cheer coach, Katie Salvaggio.

Pictures spread across social media.

"We're opponents on the field, but off the field we're all here for each other," said Nanger.

"Well, I feel even off the field and off the court, we build a sense of community in our district. It doesn't matter what rivalry someone else is. It's important to have someone to lean against and support," Synder said.

The cheerleaders say Grace now has that sign in her hospital room.

Grace and her family did not want to be interviewed. She has already had two rounds of chemo.

Her cheer teammates and opposing team mates say they are continuing to pray for her and that she still has a spot on the squad for when she comes back.