By MIRANDA BAINES
THE DAILY SOUTHERNER
Teresa Mobley, 33, former cheerleading coach at SouthWest Edgecombe High School, died Thursday afternoon, after a yearlong battle with her health.
“Teresa just touched so many lives and brought out the good in a lot of people,” said Ashley Hawkins, whose sister Samantha was a member of Mobley’s varsity cheerleading team.
Mobley was diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia on Aug. 30, 2012.
“I just know that when she was diagnosed, it was ‘game on,’” Hawkins said. “She just accepted it and said, ‘I’m going to defeat it’… She took life and embraced it.”
Mobley’s daughter, Tonia Summerlin, in an October 2012 interview with The Daily Southerner, talked about her mother’s selflessness.
“When she got diagnosed, she wasn’t worried about herself. She was worried about us,” she said.
Mobley is survived by her husband, Scott, and her four children – Summerlin, Jarratt, Brayden, and McKenlee.
Mobley experienced an outpouring of support from the community after her diagnosis with cancer. A Facebook page, “Prayers & Support for Teresa Summerlin-Mobley,” was created on Sept. 1, 2012, and on Thursday had 1,123 followers. A post Thursday shortly after she passed read, “Teresa went home to be with the Lord this afternoon. She’s shining down on us and I know she’s not in any more pain. Thank you for the prayers. They mean more than you know!”
At no time was the community’s support more evident than at a bone marrow drive organized by Summerlin, who at that time was a senior and cheerleader at SouthWest. More than 100 people attended the drive in the SouthWest cafeteria on Oct. 13, 2012, in the hopes of becoming a bone marrow donor for Mobley. Mobley ultimately found a donor.
“It has been overwhelming and humbling to see how everyone steps in when your whole world is devastated,” said Mobley, at the time of the drive. “In times like this, you’re very grateful for small towns and everybody knowing everybody and loving everybody.”
After Mobley’s diagnosis, the girls on her cheerleading teams began wearing orange shirts, the color of leukemia awareness, with the phrase “No, leukemia, you can’t have my second mama,” screen-printed on the back.
“She looks at us like her second kids,” said Makyah Arrington, a cheerleader, during practice last school year.
Hawkins said the girls are still wearing orange ribbons this month, in honor of leukemia awareness month.
Mobley continued coaching cheerleading while undergoing chemotherapy treatments. Both the JV and Varsity teams won national titles last year under her guidance.
“She didn’t give up on those girls and they didn’t give up on her,” Hawkins said.
Hawkins believes Mobley’s legacy will carry on with her daughter, Summerlin, who coordinated a bone marrow drive that made a difference “not only for Teresa, but for others.” Hawkins received news after the drive for Mobley that her bone marrow was a match for someone, and went on to donate in March.
“I made somebody’s life better like she made mine better and I’m grateful to her for that,” Hawkins said.
Funeral arrangements for Mobley are pending.