Intramural champs dedicate senior year to friend’s memory, cancer awareness
The bonds many Baylor students make as freshmen are not easily broken. Such is the case for a group of Baylor seniors who turned down the opportunity to play for their various fraternities this fall to team up for a greater purpose.
The friends reunited their freshman Baylor Intramurals team, the “Tune Squad,” to honor a friend and former teammate who passed away this summer after a battle with cancer — and to raise awareness of the deadly disease that took their friend’s life.
Shawn Helms Jr. passed away July 11 at age 21 — just four months after he was diagnosed with a deadly form of skin cancer. His parents, Shawn and Misty Helms, say doctors told them that the melanoma “started on the top of Shawn’s head — on his scalp, under his thick, black, curly hair.” After their son’s passing, Shawn and Misty established the Helms Hope Foundation, a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness and encouraging early detection of skin cancer through innovative outreach and education.
“One evening, when talking to me about his diagnosis, Shawn Jr. said that he did not know what would happen, but that he believed that good would come from this terrible situation — that having cancer would result in something good in his life, our lives, and/or for the greater good of God’s world,” says Shawn Sr. “There is no major organization dedicated to awareness and early detection of skin cancer the way Susan G. Komen is for breast cancer. We want to change that.”
Helms Hope’s primary programs will encourage everyone to get checked at a dermatologist once per year and will train beauty and wellness professionals to integrate skin screenings into their daily work with customers.
Sponsored by Helms Hope, the “Tune Squad” came back together to play for Shawn this fall. And they didn’t just play — they won, capturing the Men’s Intramural Flag Football Recreational Division championship.
“What these guys are doing means so much to me and my family,” says Noelle Helms, Shawn Jr.’s younger sister Noelle and a current Baylor sophomore. “This has been such a hard time, but the love and support we have received from the Baylor community has been amazing.”
Team members say they will continue to honor Shawn Jr. by playing intramural basketball and volleyball in the spring.
“Shawn was super competitive, and would have loved that we got the team back together,” says senior Winston Reeves. “He would be ecstatic that we ended up winning the football championship.”
To learn more about Helms Hope and how you can help the fight against melanoma, visit helmshope.org.
Sic ’em, Tune Squad!
[Pictured above: The Tune Squad. Front row, L-R: Winston Reeves, Noelle Helms, Lance Wheeler, Travis Scheibmeir. Back row: Nathan Razo, Josh Shen, Bryan Knostman, Jackson Moffat, Ben Lawley]