Tralee Hale: Mother of freshman CB Kelee Ringo is not alone in cancer fight
Tralee Hale never knew she had quite this many ‘Dawgs in her corner. Until now.
Her introduction to the Georgia fan base was quick and memorable during the last recruiting cycle.
Hale, a flight attendant, is the mother of 5-star cornerback prospect Kelee Ringo. She kept visiting Athens from Arizona with her son all last year. Ringo was rated as the nation’s No. 1 cornerback prospect for the 2020 cycle. The 6-foot-2, 205-pounder was 6 feet, 2 inches tall and weighed more than 205 pounds.
There was a “Junior Day” visit. Then for G-Day. Then for the annual Georgia scavenger hunt recruit weekend in May. Those were just the trips that popped up over social media.
He also had an official visit in early January. The Bulldogs were battling Texas and Oregon primarily for his commitment and eventual signature on a letter-of-intent.
Ringo had sprinter’s speed in the 100 meters. He was capable of clocking 10.40 seconds and below in the 100. But his mother also kept showing up on his viral recruiting visits. There was that timeless photo when she draped the pet python of a Georgia staffer around her neck.
Her son, the chiseled and hyper-athletic 5-star would have nothing to do with that serpent. That photo opp with Georgia staffer Bryan Gantt’s pet “Sunshine” eventually led to the creation of a new NCAA rule for recruits. Of all things.
Her son did eventually sign with Georgia. He committed to the Bulldogs back in January on a live announcement from the All-American Bowl out in Texas.
Hale was planning to move to Georgia to be closer to her son and follow his career from not just the same time zone, but the same state as well.
Life, as we all know, sometimes can bust up even the best-laid plans.
Hale was diagnosed in June with an aggressive form of breast cancer. When she learned that, she went through the expected range of emotions. She eventually was faced with the reality that she was going to need some help.
A lot of help.
It necessitated that a GoFundme page was set up to help her raise the funds necessary to pay for those treatments and also deal with the loss of income necessary while she was set to go through all the chemotherapy.
“In June of this year, Tralee Hale was diagnosed with Triple Negative Ductal Carcinoma breast cancer. This is an aggressive form of cancer, and fewer treatment options are available. Tralee is being treated at Cancer Treatment Centers of America here in Arizona where she will undergo 16 rounds of chemotherapy.
Before this diagnosis, Tralee has been on leave from her job as a flight attendant for American Airlines due to a work-related injury. She has had one surgery to correct a knee issue and multiple others for her knee and back are required.
Shortly before this diagnosis, Tralee sent her son, Kelee, off to live his dream playing football for the Georgia Bulldogs. She has always been his biggest cheerleader but now she needs our help!
Please consider donating to help Tralee with her loss of income and additional expenses not covered by insurance.”
Kimberly Cochran, her cousin, set up the page and organized the online effort.
As of late Thursday evening, she had 490 donations to help her in that fight. While an original goal of $25,000 was quickly established, it became clear that the support was going to provide more help in her fight than she ever imagined.
Those 490 pledges have been good for a total of $26,015 so far. The quick math on that is an average of $53 per pledge.
Hale was so moved that she took to her Twitter account to try to begin to share her gratitude.
“I wanted to come on and say thank you,” Hale says in the embedded video below. “I have been brought to tears these last two days over the amount of support and messages and encouragement that I have been receiving. I am so thankful and blessed to be a part of the UGA family and a part of DawgNation.”
“I’m so thankful for everyone showing their love and support. We have a fight in front of us but I am definitely going to get through it with your help. Thank you and I look forward to seeing ya’ll between the hedges.”
Thank you for ALL the love and support! I feel so blessed to be a part of Dawg Nation and the UGA family! GoDawgs! 🐾 🐶 pic.twitter.com/EJfvvUdTwr
— Tralee Hale (@HaleTralee) July 3, 2020
How Team Tralee has helped out in a big way
Hale and her funding drive known as “Team Tralee” quickly picked up $16,000 toward that original $25,000 in less than a day. When it started to get tweeted around on social media and on a few sites which cover the Bulldogs, the cause really started to gain some real momentum.
Take a look at how that support quickly came to be:
- 8:15 AM on June 30: $1,300 approximately. The page was established early on June 30.
- 12:00 PM on June 30: $6,800 in less than five hours
- 2:45 PM on June 30: The total here is now $10,200. That’s $9,000 in pledges in less than seven hours from early on June 30.
- 10:20 update on June 30: That total now rests at $17,595.
- 9:35 AM on July 1: Support for “Team Tralee” reaches $19,480. The fund-raising effort is approximately 30 hours old.
- 4:30 PM on July 1: The tally moves to $21,895 with 441 donors. The pledge goal now shows an increase to $40,000.
As it started to really pick up steam, Ringo even shared a word of appreciation on his Twitter account.
I really appreciate the love and prayers for my mom, She’s a fighter.🙏❤️
— Kelee Ringo (@KeleeRingo) June 30, 2020
Hale replied to a tweet from Radi Nabulsi of UGAsports.com. The Rivals UGA site was one of many UGA online properties and message boards to post the news of her fight and that GoFundme.com page to help out.
Thank you so very much for posting and for your support! I’m going to beat this! Next….. All I want is to get there and watch football with y’all!! GoDawgs! 🐾 🐶 🏈
— Tralee Hale (@HaleTralee) June 30, 2020
It wasn’t just those who are charged with covering the Georgia football team, but a grassroots effort of the rank-and-file members of the Georgia fan base.
Thank you soooooooo very much! I’m so blessed to be a part of the Dawg Family! 🐾 🐶 I’m soooo thankful for all of the encouragement and support! Your thoughts and prayers mean so much! 🙏🏽💯 I will beat this! 💪🏽
— Tralee Hale (@HaleTralee) July 1, 2020
Join TEAM TRALEE in her fight against cancer! https://t.co/AMrixJaZ6V
— Jamey Goodman (@JameyGoodman) June 30, 2020
While quickly scanning through the donor lists and the comments, there’s an overwhelming number of pledges from Georgia fans or those simply stating that DawgNation and the UGA fanbase has her back.
“I am soooooo very thankful to have so much support from UGA fans,” she told DawgNation on Wednesday.
The special bond she has with her son is clear in Ringo’s tweet from back on Mother’s Day.
— Kelee Ringo (@KeleeRingo) May 10, 2020
It doesn’t matter which colors one might rep. The movement taking place here is an awesome gesture of humanity. Especially during times where a lot of families are going through their own hardships of some sort.
Those donations have already led to an upgrade in her initial hopes for her patient care.
“I quite literally need to thank them for coming together for me because I am going to be able to be seen by the Cancer Treatment Centers of American because of their support,” Hale said.