But now, Jackson’s missing the person who always rallied around her.
“She didn’t miss not one game,” Jackson said.
Danielle was the kind of mom who took her three sport student-athlete daughter all over for practice and training sessions. Quick with the constructive criticism, but also with the encouraging word -- even when she was fighting cancer and listening to her daughter's games on the radio from her hospital bed.
Jackson calls her mother her No. 1 fan. But she and her teammates are getting a hard lesson that the game of life isn’t always easy.
Danielle Gatlin lost her battle with breast cancer on December 1st, just weeks into the basketball season. Her death affected the entire community, but none more so than the Lady Bulldog basketball team who spent countless hours sitting with Sherriona at Archbold Memorial Hospital. In the moments immediately following Ms. Gatlin’s death teammates didn’t hesitate to show what it means to be a friend and teammate.
Sophomore player Jayah McCoggle, said “Being there for Sherriona has shown me the real meaning of friendship and the responsibility I have as her friend. I was there by her side through it all whether she needed me during the day or night.”
As a gesture of support for their teammate, the entire team also wore pink shirts with the phrase “We Do it for Danielle” during warm ups before the remaining games in the season.
"It's been everything for me," Jackson said . "The actions of my teammates has shown me that I will always have family to support and encourage me. They are my sisters, and they're always here for me. When I fall down, they pick me back up and they know I'd do the same for them."
An online fundraising account has been created to help the family with expenses. Cards can be sent to Jackson through the Thomasville High School athletics department.