When an excited team bus of state-playoff-bound Fairfield High School basketball players made a special side-trip less than two weeks ago to visit team volunteer Sharon Revel, the boys had no way of knowing she would soon die from cancer.
Neither did she, said her husband Mike.
It wasn’t until a few days ago that the grim reality of Revel’s worsening illness — diagnosed less than a month ago — prompted her doctors to send her home for hospice care.
The 62-year-old Revel died early Monday morning at her Fairfield home surrounded by family.
In recent weeks, everyone in the Fairfield school sports community knew she was gamely battling a potentially deadly cancer and were rallying to her support.
Team members during their March 4 visit outside Revel’s home were wearing their special T-shirts honoring her struggle with the words “Our Fight” and her initials printed on the front.
And she gamely but gingerly rose from her lawn chair in the front yard, surrounded by her cheering family and friends, and walked to the bus with a beaming smile to greet the state playoff-bound team that special day.
Tuesday the entire Fairfield school community sadly learned of her passing.
The popular prep sports volunteer, who graduated from Fairfield High School, died less than a month after first learning from doctors she had breast cancer that had spread to her liver, said Mike Revel.
“When that team bus came around our street corner that day and those boys were hooting and hollering … well you can’t believe how much that meant to her,” said Revel.
Family video from the team visit saw Revel beaming with her trademark smile as she fist bumped Fairfield team members leaning out the bus windows.
“That meant the world to her,” said Revel.
Doctors sent Revel home last Thursday, he said, acknowledging there was nothing more they could do for her.
Prior to that, her visitors at Bethesda North Hospital in northern Hamilton County regularly packed the floor’s waiting room, “sometimes 40 deep,” said her husband.
A former payroll specialist for Fairfield Schools, she had impacted thousands of local youth through her sports volunteer work as a volleyball coach, referee, teams volunteer, score keeper and concession stand worker at games.
Aaron Blankenship, athletic director for Fairfield Schools, said Revel’s impact was immeasurable.
“She was one of most amazing people that we’ve had the pleasure of working with. Sharon represented everything good about our Fairfield community,” said Blankenship.
“We’re heartbroken by the loss … and we’ll cherish the moments that we had with Sharon, especially her final days,” he said.
Her husband described her as hardworking and passionate about youth sports and everywhere Revel went she rarely saw strangers.
“Everybody loved her and she never had a frown on her face. She was one very special person and the Lord must have needed her in heaven fast,” he said.
Besides her husband, Revel is survived by daughters Shannon (Bill) Weitz, Stacy (Jason) Poulin, Jodi Miller, and son Aaron (Anjalisa) Revel.
The long-time member of Sacred Heart Catholic Church is also survived by siblings Gary Baute, Sandy (the late Jim) Moody, Tina (the late Jim) Lepera. Revel was preceded in death by her twin brother Steve Baute.
Visitation is 5-8 p.m. Friday at the Fairfield Freshman School, 8790 N. Gilmore Road, with Mass of Christian Burial 10:30 a.m. Saturday at Sacred Heart Church, 400 Nilles Road, with Father Larry Tharp, officiating. Burial to follow on St. Mary Cemetery in Hamilton.
The Webster Funeral home is assisting the family.
In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions would be appreciated to Fairfield Community Foundation-Fairfield Champions Scholarship, 5350 Pleasant Avenue, Fairfield, OH 45014; or donate online to the Fairfield Champions Scholarship at hamiltonfoundation.org/fairfield-community-foundation.
About the Author