While the talk of Koskinen Stadium Thursday night was North Carolina’s 3-0 win over Duke, the Blue Devils still scored one victory on the night.
Senior defender Sheila Kramer organized a fundraiser for cystic fibrosis in honor of her late Uncle Frank, who passed away five years ago from the disease. A crowd of 1,164 fans came out to support Duke and Kramer’s efforts as all proceeds from ticket sales went to the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.
During halftime, Kramer’s mom spoke about her brother and her daughter’s devotion to the discovery of a cure for the disease, noting that Sheila wants CF to mean “cure found.” Kids diagnosed with cystic fibrosis also came onto the field during that time to play and receive soccer bags from Kramer, who later signed autographs for them.
Although the Blue Devils couldn’t triumph over the Tar Heels, you couldn’t tell from talking to Kramer after the game.
“It was just really inspiring to be out on the field playing for them,” she said. “This whole thing has kind of been about them to see them go out and live normal lives.”
And it must have truly motivated Kramer, as she logged her most minutes of any match this season after entering the game to roaring applause from the crowd, including a special contingent of more than 25 family members who came to see her play.
“It’s a moment I’ll never forget,” she said. “I’m kind of overcome by emotion but just to have [the kids] here (she pauses, choked up) and be able to be apart of this and get some attention and bring some support to this cause makes me feel really good inside.”
Even though the scoreboard signaled a loss, it was far from it for Kramer and the CF Foundation. Her contribution to research for cystic fibrosis is an important reminder of the kind of people representing Duke athletics-students committed to making a difference both on the field and off.
–by Sabreena Merchant