Barnes, the 12th-year skipper of the Tiger football team, was told a few weeks ago that he has Parkinson's disease. Parkinson's is a progressive disorder of the nervous system that generally affects movement. There is no cure.
In a gesture of good will and support, Crittenden County’s football family will be selling “Stay Barnes Strong” T-shirts and raising money with all proceeds going to Parkinson’s disease research.
“There will be a special recognition and presentation of a check to the Parkinson's Research Association at halftime of the game,” said Rocket coach Al Starnes.
Dubbed “Paint The Night Blue and White,” a sea of blue and white helium balloons will fill the sky as Crittenden and Caldwell unify in this effort, Starnes said.
For several years, Caldwell and Crittenden counties have used their annual football game to rally around a particular off-field cause. This time, Coach Starnes says disease has hit home once again.
“Coach Barnes and his family are going through a challenging period and Rocket Football stands firmly by their side,” said Starnes, Crittenden County’s 27-year coach. “We are lead by our spirit and faith to try to make a tiny difference in his life and the lives of others struggling with this diseases.”
When Coach Starnes and his wife Angela were both fighting cancer a few years ago, Caldwell County’s football family was among the first to show its support.
“We want to show Coach Barnes that we stand with him and for him,” Starnes added.
There will be fundraising efforts inside the schools and collection containers placed around town where the community can contribute. The effort has adopted the hashtag slogan #bethedifference as part of its campaign to create awareness for the disease.