Rowers offer support to Scharlow

INDIANAPOLIS - When Reed City native Katie Scharlow, 23, was diagnosed with cancer after defeating the illness once before, a longtime friend wanted to brighten her day.

With two races left in the Michigan State University women’s rowing team’s season, rower April Newberry concocted the idea to make shirts bearing the words, “We’re pulling for you Katie!” to wear during the team’s practice run before the Big Ten race last weekend.

“The rowing team support is amazing. It keeps me going strong and it gives me hope,” Scharlow said. “I feel blessed to have such an awesome support system.”

Newberry, a 2008 graduate of Reed City High School suggested the idea to the eight team members in her boat. She was amazed when the entire MSU women’s rowing team - more than 50 people including coaches and rowers - jumped at the idea and all wore shirts supporting Scharlow.

“I wanted to show her my love somehow and bring a smile to her face,”  Newberry said. “I believe Katie is a fighter and it’s going to be a lot longer than (doctors say).”

Newberry, who grew up going to youth group with Scharlow at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Reed City, said she wanted Scharlow to know that though some of her friends may have moved away, they still care about her.

After wearing the shirts during the practice run, the MSU rowing team went on to win the Big Ten  tournament.