Former UGA football mom beats cancer, now helping raise awareness

Tralee Hale is cancer free & now working to help other women put their health first
Published: May. 22, 2023 at 1:26 PM EDT|Updated: May. 22, 2023 at 3:54 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Mother’s Day may have already come and gone, but one former University of Georgia football player is hoping to put the spotlight on moms and all women year-round.

Tralee Hale is a true football mom.

“I have quite the love for my son when he is on the field. I’m his biggest fan and I think that shows from the stands,” says Hale.

But just days after her son Kelee Ringo left to go play for the University of Georgia, Tralee’s world was turned upside down.

“I was diagnosed with triple negative breast cancer on June 12 of 2020.”

A reality, at the time, she wasn’t willing accept.

“I literally had a mass and I completely ignored it because I was in denial that it was cancer because, ‘not me.’ I was so certain I was willing to bet my life on it,” Hale recalled.

A reaction Dr. DeCarla Albright says isn’t uncommon.

“Sadly, I have heard this story before. Tralee’s story is so impactful because she was not yet 40 years old where you would begin starting to screen for a mammogram. Many women are afraid, in denial, they feel something, or they don’t have family history so they don’t think they could have breast cancer.”

As reality set in, Tralee began to fight.

“When I was going through chemo it was the most challenging time of my life. I can’t put into words what it feels like to literally be on your death bed.”

A battle that wouldn’t be done in silence and wouldn’t be done in vain.

“That’s why I’m using my voice moving forward to advocate. I don’t want other women to have to go through what I experienced,” Hale says.

Encouraging women to make their health a priority, pay attention to the signs and get a 3D mammogram scan early and often.

“It’s a type of technology that can see the breast in different planes. It’s almost like a CT Scan of the breast, shows different dimensions. It’s going to enhance the ability to detect breast cancer,” says Dr. Albright.

As Tralee’s son saw victory on the field so too would she see victory in her battle against breast cancer, a strength Kelee clings to every time he steps onto the field.

“She’s definitely my vessel. Mentally this entire situation has helped me grow as a young man for sure. I can say, going against all types of adversity, knowing what she’s been through and what I’ll go through, there’s no comparison,” Kelee says.

Tralee now able to enjoy life back on the sidelines cheering on her son, now a Philadelphia Eagle.

But it’s safe to say she isn’t just a football mom anymore, she’s a fighter and she and her son plan to continue to keep fighting in hopes that one no one else will have to.

“I’m going to continue to advocate for this. I’m going to continue to spread awareness about those who are going through the same situation my mom has been in, especially for those families, because I know what they’ve went through,” said Kelee.

“I am thankful to be here. I have an entire new lease on life having this behind me. Now moving forward, I want to use my voice to advocate. I want to prevent women from going through what I had to,” added Tralee.