Goat Support Team showed Nancy Young their love
POSTED AUG. 19-Nancy Bailey Young, the much-loved secretary of the Crescent Park Elementary School, lost her six-year battle with cancer Monday.
But during her final weeks this summer, through a T-shirt and bracelet campaign carried out over Facebook, hundreds of people in the Bethel community and beyond shared their love and support for her. And this week with her passing, they are remembering her and comforting each other through the same network.
Young, initially diagnosed with breast cancer six years ago, found out at the end of this past school year that the cancer had spread.
In early July, her sister Kathy, who works at Hot Colors Screenprinting and Design in Norway, jokingly suggested the staff there get tattoos in honor of Nancy.
Barbara Lane, the owner, had a serious suggestion.
“Let’s print shirts,” she said.
The idea for a name and logo for a support group came from Nancy’s high school nickname, according to Lainey Cross of Bethel, who was in school with her.
Nancy had once teased one of her other sisters about liking a boy, said Cross. Her sister replied, “Be quiet, you nanny goat!”
“The name stuck,” said Cross.
So the “Goat Support Team” was born, and T-shirt production began.
Their goal was to print 200 shirts and give the proceeds to Nancy for medical expenses.
When Cross heard about the T-shirt project, she immediately ordered one.
“Nancy always had a smile, she was even-keeled, just a pleasant person to be around,” she said.
Then Cross and about two dozen other friends and family who had T-shirts began to organize.
First, they gathered at the Bethel Area Chamber of Commerce, then made the short walk over to Nancy’s house. “I decided that I needed to bring my camera for when she was told [about the shirts],” said Cross.
So she took photos of Young’s reaction: “She personally hugged each person and thanked them,” Cross said.
Cross also took a group picture.
“I went home and posted them on my Facebook page,” she said. “Then someone said I needed to create a group page for GST. I didn’t know how to do it, but I figured it out.”
The page quickly became a central point for people to obtain T-shirts and plan organized showings of support.
“For Mollyockett Day, we put out that it was a T-shirt wearing event,” said Cross. “I didn’t even watch the parade. I was taking pictures. As I walked down Main Street, people would holler, ‘Lainey, I’m over here.’”
The same thing happened on Olde Home Days in Andover, as people atop one of the floats wore shirts.
At Hot Colors, Kathy printed on her own time, said Barbara, “and many, many other people have contributed in so many ways. I’ve had friends of Nancy’s and friends of mine and people I didn’t even know come in to fold and pack up orders.”
As of last week, more than 600 shirts had been sold, with Nancy’s other sisters, Rosalie and June, and friends Robin Gundersen and Tiffany Colby doing much of the distribution.
As the T-shirt project grew, Cross and another friend, Linda Stowell, had the idea to also make bracelets.
They found a website to order rubber wristband bracelets. Then they started buying pink beads to make their own.
“We shopped for beads from Bethel to Philadelphia,” said Cross. “We bought out everyone from here to Portland with pink beads.”
They’ve made more than 200 bracelets. And people on Facebook who didn’t know Nancy bought both bracelets and shirts.
“Facebook has allowed so much more to take place, and so many people to join together,” said Stowell.
As of Tuesday, the online group boasted nearly 300 members.
And now, they are leaving their remembrances of Nancy online and taking comfort that they did all they could to show her what she meant to them.
“What a sendoff, to know how your community cares about you,” said Cross.
(Note: The web address for the GST is www.facebook.com/#!/group.php?gid=133339076706720. T-shirts and bracelets are still available, and anyone interested may post the request there.)