At just 15, Jameson Wharton has already seen too many loved ones battle cancer.
After losing an aunt to ovarian cancer, Wharton decided to join the fight himself by starting his own fundraiser, “Football for the Cure” when he was just 10 years old.
“I was like I want to do something about it,” said the teen who has also seen his god mother, a cousin and a grandfather battle the disease. “A lot of my family has been affected by cancer and I just wanted to try to make a difference.”
The Hendersonville Parks Board recognized Wharton recently for that desire to make a difference in his community by naming a new sportsmanship award after him.
In April, the city’s parks board and staff instituted a new sportsmanship program called, “Honor the Game,” according the Parks Manager Dallas Long.
“We’ll look to identify and recognize individuals that demonstrate positive sportsmanship conduct throughout our leagues and programs,” said Long. “In addition, we’ll also recognize two individuals annually who go above a beyond with the sportsmanship of the year award. That award will be named after Jameson Wharton.”
In October of 2018 Wharton’s fourth-annual “Football for the Cure,” raised more than $1,200 for cancer research. As he had done in previous years, the rising Hendersonville High School sophomore donated all of the event’s proceeds to the American Cancer Society.
Long recognized Wharton with the inaugural glass award and certificate signed by Mayor Jamie Clary at the beginning of the May 20 Hendersonville Parks Board meeting.
“Jameson serves as a positive example among our youth in Hendersonville through his dedication, inspiration and guidance to all,” said Long.
Long added that the Jameson Wharton Sportsmanship Award will recognize and honor future Hendersonville youth who display the same character, spirt and sportsmanship that Wharton displays.
“Most everyone here has known someone who has been affected by cancer in some way,” said Long. “While we all hope for a cure, you sought to do more and put our hope into action. Our hope is that we are able to discover a hundred more Jamesons that share your same spirit and leadership through the ‘Honor the Game’ program.”
The “Honor the Game” program will highlight the principles of respect (of the rules, players, coaches, officials, parents and fans); heart; learning and playing for the enjoyment of the game.
The Hendersonville Parks Department will collect nominations from partnering leagues and organizations of those who displayed good sporting conduct throughout the season. Those individuals will be recognized on the department’s website and social media pages as well as through local media. They’ll also receive a certificate and a t-shirt.
The Jameson Wharton Sportsmanship Award will be awarded on an annual basis to one adult and one youth parks department participant.
Wharton thanked parks board members for the recognition.
“It’s an honor for you guys to name this award after me,” he said.
Hendersonville Parks Board Chairman Ken Hesson also congratulated the teen.
“With all that’s going on in the world right now it’s good to see that,” said Hesson. “It’s good to see that. We’re sure proud of him.”
“Football for the Cure” will be held on Sunday, Oct. 20 from 2:30 to 4:30 p.m. at Drake’s Creek Park. For more information go to: www.facebook.com/groups/321791187993304/
For more information about the city’s Honor the Game sportsmanship program, go to: www.hvilletn.org/departments/parks/honor-the-game-sportsmanship