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Atlanta Beat Player Uses Twitter to Support Alabama Clean-Up

May 5, 2011 - Women's Professional Soccer (WPS) - Atlanta Beat News Release

KENNESAW, Ga. (Thursday, May 4, 2011) - Atlanta Beat goalkeeper Allison Whitworth sat glued to a computer screen last Wednesday as she tracked one of the worst storms to ever hit her hometown of Birmingham, Ala. "Whit," as she is affectionately regarded by teammates, credits social media for helping locate loved ones and support the cleanup.

Her two brothers, Michael and Patrick, were both in school at the University of Alabama. "During the storm," she said, "I searched Tuscaloosa and every mention or tweet from Tuscaloosa on the main Twitter site. I had different searches going on for tornadoes, and I was also following James Spann, a Meteorologist for ABC 33/40 TV in Alabama. Within a half hour, people were out taking pics and posting footage with real time news and videos."

From those Twitter updates, she saw the tornado's direct path and knew that her brothers were okay. As she continued to follow the Tuscaloosa hashtags, the Alabama-born athlete found herself connecting to an unexpected cause.

"There's a movement among an Auburn Alumni group called Tumors for Tuscaloosa (," she said. "They are using Twitter and Facebook as a way to organize different relief efforts. I have actually already dropped some stuff off at Costco that will make its way over to Alabama. It's really touched me in a way that has gone beyond the rivalry and the things that have been in the past. Its been all about home. I think for anybody at home right now, it has crossed the line of the rivalry to impact the entire state of Alabama."

For the 26 year-old goalkeeper, her support efforts will be from nearly 150 miles away as she spends the remainder of the Women's Professional Soccer season in Kennesaw, Ga. "I am hoping that when I do get back, I will probably get involved with the church or with one of the many organizations lending a hand."

She is taking things in stride and says, "It's funny. I've actually spent the past week talking to my family more than I have in the last month or two. It's tough not being able to make it back until the end of the season, but it's been great to at least be able to keep in touch over the phone. I definitely feel that it is important to be close to family."

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