MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – A teenager who captured the spirit of her high school football team, and her entire school, has lost her battle with brain cancer.
Rachel Woell passed away Friday night, after leaving the football game at half-time.READ MORE: Minnesota Budget Update Reflects $7.7 Billion Surplus
Walking the halls of Totino-Grace on Monday, Rachel’s trademark color was everywhere.
Step onto the practice field, and you feel she’s the heart of the team.
“She calls our guys, ‘her boys,’ and they love her,” Coach Jeff Ferguson said.
“I think it’s a reminder to live like she would want us to and to live like she did,” teammate Joseph Weiler said.
The Eagles team manager was first diagnosed with brain cancer in second grade. Last October a more aggressive tumor forced another round of radiation. Through it all, the 18-year-old never stopped smiling.
“She had a bounce to her step and a twinkle in her eye and just kind of a hard to describe way about her that made you want to be with her,” Ferguson said. “She changed lives, isn’t that something? This little girl, she has, she changed my life.”
Rachel was crowned Homecoming Queen this year, alongside one the players, Kez Flomo.READ MORE: 2 Tigers At Pittsburgh Zoo Test Positive For COVID-19
“She always put a smile on my face,” Flomo said. “She meant a lot to me, actually she was my motivation.”
And Friday night, Rachel was right where she wanted to be, cheering on the Eagles.
“We got home here, and within two minutes, she passed in our arms,” her father, Jamie Woell, said.
Jamie and Yvette Woell smile through the sorrow, thankful for the joy Rachel brought to so many lives.
“Faith helps,” Jamie Woell said. “I don’t know what people do without faith.”
“She’s made us better people,” Yvette Woell said. “We’re a better person because of her. She was a great teacher, a teacher about life and what’s important, and she did it with grace.”
On Thursday Totino-Grace will have a “green-out” in honor of Rachel.MORE NEWS: Minnesota Weather: Tuesday Morning Snow Showers Make For Tough Commute
Then a visitation begins at the school at 5 p.m. And just like Rachel would have wanted, her funeral will be on Saturday at 10 a.m. at Totino-Grace, so it doesn’t disrupt Friday football.