WARSAW – It has been a battle that continues to wage on, but for those involved, the fight against cancer continues to be a necessary one.
Nothing has changed from the stories of before. Cancer sucks, and no one really disputes that. But cancer has, in some ways, brought out the best in people, both in the fight and from those in the circles. This spring, light continues to shine as we collectively try to eliminate cancer altogether.
A spotlight has been put on the continued efforts of NorthWood’s baseball team, taking on a second year working with the Jason Motte Foundation. Year one for the Panthers centered around the Warren family, which had lost a sibling to mesothelioma. Other extended family within the baseball program were also going through the battles, and together with the help of the NorthWood community as well as the generosity of the high school baseball families from several other teams, NorthWood baseball raised nearly $11,500 for the Jason Motte Foundation.
NorthWood will put its heads together again this spring, looking to Strike Out Cancer in hopes of supporting another one of its own. Kim Sellers, the wife of NorthWood athletic director Norm Sellers, is now in a fight with cancer. Kim, a teacher in the Bremen School Corporation, has long been a supporter of high school athletics, and been the backbone as the Sellers kids came up and through the NorthWood system, including the baseball program. NorthWood has been vocal and proactive in its support, including publicly showing its support during the basketball season with blue-clad nights.
NorthWood and Bremen will host its Strike Out Cancer game on April 27, but donations can be made at any time with anyone in the Panther or Lion baseball programs.
Cancer-themed games are not out of the ordinary, and certainly they have their place. Warsaw has held a host of cancer games, whether it be volleyball, football or softball, teams continuing to step outside its comfort zones to step up for others in need. Warsaw softball has one of those games in the works this spring. Wawasee and Goshen have held softball games with breast cancer fundraising at the forefront of the conference matchup. Grace College held and will continue to host its Hoops For Hope basketball games in November. The men play for the honor of Terry Polston and the women for Carol Forbes.
“Our goal each year is to raise around $2,000,” stated Grace men’s basketball coach Jim Kessler last fall. “We want to raise money but also to raise awareness in the community. We chose to channel our money to Kosciusko County Cancer Care Fund rather than the Jimmy V Foundation like most other schools do because all of the money stays local to benefit the area. It’s been a neat thing for us to be involved with as a team.”
One of the more national responses in regards to cancer, the fight, and the good that can come of it was through Tyler Trent. The Purdue student came into the national spotlight in October as his story unfolded in connection to the Purdue football team and its reciprocation back to Trent. He garnered the attention from everyone from Pat McAfee to Dan Dakich, from Scott Van Pelt to Kirk Herbstreit, from Purdue president Mitch Daniels to United States president Donald Trump.
Though Trent lost his battle on New Year’s Day, the legacy he set will carry on. Purdue announced in late March the construction plans of the Tyler Trent Student Gate outside the old Gate E in the student section. The place where Trent first became a public figure in camping out before football games.
Purdue will also carry on the Tyler Trent Cancer Research Endowment as well as its Purdue University Center For Cancer Research 5K Challenge next weekend. The 5K is just one of dozens of cancer-themed events around the state, and with events like Relay For Life continuing in Fulton, Kosciusko, St. Joe and Whitley Counties in June, the Marshall County Relay in May, and the Bark For Life in Elkhart County in April, there are ample opportunities to help out.
For those fighting, continue to be strong. For those in support, be strong. For those able, give some time, some support, some money, or just be a positive influence. There are plenty of those around us who could use a helping hand.