Park Hill debuted new softball jerseys during a game against Blue Springs South on Thursday, Oct. 3.
The bright pink uniforms said Trojans across the front and on the arm was a patch from an organization — Jill’s Hope.
The non-profit foundation based in Platte County was started in 2016 by Jill (Bailey) Heckman, who learned in 2014 she had breast cancer. The disease took her life in 2017.
The 1989 Park Hill graduate was a player in volleyball, softball and basketball for the Trojans.
She was a standout player in all three sports and her photo graces the Wall of Fame outside of the school’s gymnasium.
She went on to play softball at Kansas, helping the Jayhawks win a Big 8 Conference title and reach the College Softball World Series. Heckman later went on to coach at Missouri Western.
Her daughter, Josie, played for Park Hill softball coach Jackie Qualls.
This marked the third year that Park Hill held a breast cancer awareness game. The first two the team wore t-shirts but debuted the jerseys this year.
“We felt it was a good thing to help carry Jill’s legacy along,” said Qualls, who said the team ordered the jerseys at the beginning of the year. “We wanted to honor her every year, so we got the jerseys.”
Qualls noted twice in his four years at the school a player’s parent has passed away from cancer.
“It gives us the opportunity to recognize there is definitely bigger issues than just a softball game,” he said.