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Lady Hawks to Volley for the Cure

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Game raises money for breast cancer research

By Ron Benningfield

For one special evening, Sept. 1, LaRue County High School’s Lady Hawks volleyball team will add pink to their blue-and-white colors as they host their second annual Volley for the Cure.

LaRue’s ladies will lace up with pink shoelaces, wear pink ribbons and will play with a pink volleyball, according to booster president Deena Bradley. She is hopeful their opposing players, the Lady Bruins from Central Hardin, will join them in wearing pink.

Last year, the breast cancer research and awareness fundraiser garnered $429.75 and the athletic association contributed another $308. The Kentucky High School Athletic Association promotes the event.

“We don’t ‘sponsor’ any particular part of it, just encourage our schools to come up with an awareness night like this,” said Butch Cope, KHSAA assistant commissioner. “It has drawn excitement to volleyball matches while also helping with a good cause.”

“Our Lady Hawks have taken on the challenge of fundraising for this cause because it means something to them,” Bradley said. “Almost all of our players either have a relative or someone they know who has had breast cancer.”

Senior libero Kristin Thompson’s grandmother is a breast cancer survivor.

“Her experience helped me to realize that so many people lose the fight and we need to find a cure,” said Thompson. “I greatly appreciate that I still have my grandmother around today. You would never even guess she had cancer but there’s always a threat of it coming back.”

“People who have had or who currently have breast cancer should not have to fight alone,” Thompson added. “They need our help and support to overcome and be as healthy as my grandmother.”

Emily Dewitt, a junior outside hitter, also has a grandmother who has survived the disease. Diagnosed at age 85, her grandmother celebrated her 90th birthday Aug. 11.

“Mamaw never let the diagnosis of breast cancer defeat her,” Dewitt said. “She has a marvelous spirit and a strong faith in God, and inspires me daily to never give up when faced with adversity. Working to find a cure is a way to honor her and all others who have been affected by this disease.” 

LaRue’s volleyball coach, Ben Schell, also is acquainted with the dreaded disease.

“I lost a grandmother to cancer when I was in high school,” he said. “To think, if only a cure was possible back then, I would have been able to spend several more great years with her.”

Schell feels that it is of utmost importance for high school students to be involved in something positive.

“This program offers a great opportunity to give back to those who have meant so much to us,” he said.

Breast cancer statistics

Facts show that the need for a cure is great. According to ww5.komen.org, about 192,370 new cases of breast cancer will be diagnosed in American women in 2009. Though breast cancer in men is rare, 1,910 new cases of male breast cancer will be diagnosed in the U.S. during 2009.  

Experts say that education and research are the keys to the cure and both require money.

“That night, all of our concession proceeds, along with any donations we receive and money we make on T-shirt sales will go to the American Cancer Society,” Bradley said. “We’ll also have pink ribbons that people can buy in honor or memory of someone they know who has been touched by breast cancer.”

A program that evening will feature Paula Setters, retired LaRue County teacher and a 20-year survivor of breast cancer, as the speaker.

“The American Cancer Society uses money from these fundraisers not only for research and education, but also for support,” Setters said. “The society pays for materials which volunteers take, upon request, to those suffering from cancer.”

Setters said the support and information is vitally important, especially to a newly diagnosed person.

“When you see these volunteers who are cancer survivors looking healthy with no sign they’ve ever been sick, it gives you a lift to know that, ‘She made it; I can, too.’”