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Burbank, River View rivals unite for good cause

BURBANK -- Fans at Friday night's River View football game at Columbia-Burbank will be cheering a bigger victory than the one on the field.

River View student-athlete Abi Hamlin, diagnosed with acute myelogenous leukemia in mid-March, is in remission.

Hamlin was released from Seattle Children's Hospital earlier this month and is back at River View on a part-time basis.

Though she's out of the hospital, Hamlin still faces a long road to recovery. Friends and strangers -- even students from rival schools -- are pitching in to help her and her family along the way.

During Friday night's game in Burbank, fans from both schools will participate in an "orange out," wearing orange for leukemia awareness.

At halftime, River View and Columbia-Burbank students will compete in a spirit chain contest. Links are being sold for $1 each through the schools. The proceeds will help Hamlin's family while they deal with medical expenses.

And Team Abi's work won't stop there.

Columbia-Burbank student Mike Stanton heard about Hamlin's cause from a student who transferred from River View. For his senior project, Stanton, who is part of a music group called Wake Up, decided to put on a hip hop benefit concert for Hamlin.

Instead of carrying tickets, people must wear special T-shirts to gain entry into the concert, scheduled for 7 p.m. Oct. 22 at Columbia-Burbank. The shirts, which say "Leukemia is wack/Help fight back for Abi Hamlin," will be sold for $15 at Coyotes home football games and at River View.

Stanton and his mother drove to Seattle to tell Hamlin about the concert, and he and Hamlin have become fast friends.

The efforts to help Hamlin and her family also have softened whatever animosity might exist between River View and Columbia-Burbank.

"With this, everyone's coming together to help her out," Stanton said.