Former Heritage Hills Softball star using NIL with college teammate to help others

Former Heritage Hills Softball star using NIL with college teammate to help others
Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 6:40 PM CDT
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SPENCER CO., Ind. (WFIE) - A former Heritage Hills softball player is using her name, imagine and likeness to raise money for childhood cancer research.

Emma Eubank and Hannah Dukeman are Division I softball players at Ball State University. Unlike others in their shoes who may use their name, image, and likeness to secure sponsorships and deals with brands, they wanted to do something bigger than themselves.

“My uncle Timmy passed away from Pediatric Brain Cancer when he was 14, so he was a big part of my family. I never got to meet him, but I hear all about him from my family and friends,” explains Eubank, “so he’s kind of just brought up this passion about getting the word about child cancer research out.”

“Right when the world shut down from COVID, I lost my grandpa to cancer, like the day after the world shut down,” says Dukeman, “and then a couple months after the world shut down, I lost another grandparent to cancer.” Enter, their #curecancer cleats.

“We kind of came up with this idea of the cleats. This first one I have, I just have the hashtag, ‘cure cancer,’ which is kind of our motto, and then on this side I have my uncle Timmy’s name,” says Eubank.

“This one, same thing. We kind of have our hashtag, and then these ribbons right here are for my three grandparents that have been diagnosed with cancer in the past,” explains Dukeman.

Eubank and Dukeman each have a personal cleat, and then one focused on childhood cancer.

“On the back I have a bible verse that kind of talks about being strong, being courageous, the journey is long,” says Dukeman, “the smiley face is actually for my grandpa. When he was going through his chemo and radiation, we went over to his house and he wrote a sign on that door that said, ‘always remember to smile.’”

“For this one, I have the childhood cancer awareness symbol, and then on the back I put a bible verse which is, ‘no weapon formed against me shall prosper,’” says Eubank.

Eubank and Dukeman debuted their “Cure Cancer” cleats in a game against Miami of Ohio this season. Now, the two are auctioning them off to the highest bidder, taking all of the profits and sending them straight to St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

The last bid can be put in on September 15, in the middle of childhood cancer awareness month. See more about the auction here.

Their teammates and coaches greeted them and their ideas with open arms. However, neither plan on this being the stopping point of their journey.

“I hope we kind of inspired them and maybe some other college athletes to kind of get out there and do something that they’re passionate about and do something out of the ordinary,” says Eubank, “maybe raising money for an organization that they love as well.”

The goal is to raise $10,000, but Eubank and Dukeman each say they’re hoping they can blow it out of the water, and even work on some new projects in the future.

Dukeman says she hopes they can do another set of cleats next season, but right now, her and Eubank are excited to team up with St. Jude for a walk/run in Indianapolis. Check out their page for the event here.

Eubank plans to complete a thesis in cancer biology and earn her PhD, pursuing a career as a medical researcher for pediatric and adult cancer.

Dukeman plans to attend medical school to eventually work in a hospital as a pediatric oncologist and help diagnose and provide treatment for children with cancer.