Make no mistake, there's a face attached to a need this holiday season. And a tattoo on an arm. Not a normal tattoo. A word. Something so basic. Written in lower case letters, as if a whispered reminder.
The young face, and the tattooed bicep, belong to Caleigh Sarah Haber, a Rancho Santa Margarita native who needs a double lung transplant. Breathing, taken for granted by those around her, is not easy for the 2008 graduate of Santa Margarita Catholic High, especially at night when she tries to sleep.
So Haber is the focus of fundraising efforts this week as a convocation of Eagles try to help an alumnus that is hurting.
The Santa Margarita Eagles' Pep Squad, as part of its outreach program, is raising funds to benefit Haber, who was recommended for a new set of lungs on Nov. 4. Those lungs, wherever they are, will help her survive. They are necessitated by Haber's cystic fibrosis.
The 23-year-old trained chef with a fighting spirit is detailing her journey through a blog at fight2beathe.org.
Monies raised through the pep squad's tumble and turn-a-thon will go toward Haber's transplant and medical expenses.
"I can only smile and look forward to everything I have to read and all the stories everybody has shared with me," Haber wrote on her Facebook page. "This journey has already connected me with so many positive people and I ask that all of you continue to support me throughout my uncertain and scary but exciting roller coaster ride."
According to the school, at this week’s Pep Squad practice, participants will have a tumble and turn-a-thon. It will work similar to a jog-a-thon with pep squad team members being sponsors, who can give a flat rate or dollar amount per skill completed in a two-minute time frame.
Tuesday, 6:30 p.m., the Song Team will have the Turn-a-thon in the Eagle Dome; on Thursday, Cheer will participate with a Tumble-a-Thon at 6:30 p.m. at OC All Stars in Foothill Ranch (19531 Pauling #200, Foothill Ranch, CA 92610).
Anyone wishing to donate directly can do so at Haber's website, Fight2Breathe.org.
"Cystic Fibrosis has made me the friend, sister, daughter, who I am today," Haber said in her blog. "I have accomplished many goals, but I am not finished yet, not even close."