When the Cardinal Marching Band takes the field Saturday, a special new drum major will lead the performance: 6-year-old Beckham Goodale.
Beckham will take over for Band Director Amy Acklin for “Marching Together,” the band’s now-yearly event to spotlight children who are patients of UofL Pediatrics physicians at Norton Children’s Hospital.
Beckham has leukemia and currently has weekly chemotherapy treatment. But the illness hasn’t dampened his spirit one bit.
“Beckham just has this energy; we just knew, ‘Oh man, he could handle it Saturday and beyond.’ So we asked him to be the guest band director for me,” Acklin told WDRB.
“Our ‘drum major in training’ graciously agreed to get the band off the field at halftime and conduct our fight song.”
Acklin added that several of the songs performed by the band at Saturday’s performance were selected by patients at Norton Children’s.
The Marching Together event highlights UofL’s annual (and largest) student fundraiser, raiseRED. Organized and conducted entirely by UofL students, raiseRED consists of a week’s worth of events leading up to an 18-hour dance marathon that supports pediatric cancer research at UofL and Norton Children’s.
Marching band members support raiseRED each year, and the band is sponsoring the Marching Together event to bring attention and encourage donations to raiseRED which will be held Feb. 22-27, 2022.
Last year, raiseRED brought in more than $690,000. Due to COVID-19, the event was not held in its traditional format, but rather outside at Cardinal Stadium. The organization plans to revisit its normal format this year and the fundraising goal is $3 million. One-hundred percent of the funds raised go to UofL’s Pediatric Division of Hematology and Oncology and to Norton Children’s Cancer Institute.
Beckham, however, is just interested in getting some practice time in. Earlier this week, he was getting baton handling pointers from feature twirler Morgan Proctor and rehearsing his lines:
“C – A – R – D – S – Go – Cards!”
UofL takes on Clemson Saturday at 7:30 p.m. at Cardinal Stadium. To donate to raiseRED, go to the website’s donation page.