The American Cancer Society states that there is a 1 in 8 chance (roughly 13 percent) of a U.S. woman developing breast cancer over the course of her lifetime.
The math proved particularly cruel for the women in Amauri Gibbs’ life. The illness resulted in the deaths of his aunt and, just last year, his mother.
You better believe breast cancer awareness month hits home for the Statesville senior. He intends to be decked out in pink—as much as possible—for the next few Friday nights, beginning with Friday's North Piedmont Conference opener at South Iredell.
Pink socks. Pink gloves. Pink mouthpiece. Pink headband. Pink towel.
“I plan to do it the whole month of October and dedicate it to them,” Gibbs said.
Sharika Dalton, Gibbs’ aunt, passed away May 21, 2012, at the age of 32.
Gibbs’ mother Erika Dalton—Sharika’s twin sister—also lost a brief battle with breast cancer. She was diagnosed in July of 2018 and passed away Oct. 20, 2018 at the age of 39.
Gibbs grieved. Then he summoned the strength to get right back on the football field with his Statesville Greyhounds family.
“It was hard,” he said. “I was very sad. At the same time, my mom and my aunt wouldn’t want me moping around. I wanted to go extra hard for them.”
Jorge Walker marveled at his grandson’s ability to compartmentalize given the gravity of such a painful life event.
“He’s the strongest young man I’ve met,” Walker said.
The support system to help see Gibbs through his heartbreak included his father, Charles Gibbs.
They comforted one another.
“I appreciate (Amauri) as much as he appreciates me,” Charles said.
The Greyhounds appreciate having Gibbs at their disposal. He is another offensive weapon that can give defenses fits.
Ask West Iredell, which yielded two catches for 81 yards to the 5-foot-6, 145-pound receiver during Week 4 of the season. That included a 41-yard deep touchdown strike from Nebanye Moore.
Gibbs has seven receptions—two for TDs—totaling 171 yards. His production has helped the Greyhounds to a 6-0 start.
Even in the good times there are still moments of sorrow.
“I miss her,” Gibbs said of his mother. “I know that she will always be with me and that (she and Sharika are) always going to look over me and help guide me through.”
They’re not the only ones looking over Gibbs, Walker suggested.
“The Lord’s got big plans for him,” Walker said.
Gibbs expressed a desire to continue his football playing career in college after completing high school.
More importantly though, he poignantly added, is getting a degree.
“So I can provide,” Gibbs said. “I want that for myself and for them."