Timber Creek senior guard Meghan Barth didn't treat the school's first annual Coaches vs. Cancer game any differently from other games she played previously. However, the event itself held a special place in her heart.
Meghan's mother, Kathleen, was diagnosed with breast cancer last November. And just eight days prior to Friday night's game, Meghan's grandmother died of cancer.
Kathleen's diagnosis was one reason the Chargers' community held its first Coaches vs. Cancer game on Friday night. All three girls' basketball teams were in action as they took on Eastern.
Coaches vs. Cancer is a partnership between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches. It's a program that allows coaches at different levels of competition to help fundraise and promote awareness about cancer. Varsity head coach Donna Clark was the main catalyst in bringing the Coaches vs. Cancer game to Timber Creek.
“For a couple of years, we've been thinking about doing it,” she said. “What really pushed me was (Kathleen) got diagnosed with breast cancer.”
Clark said Kathleen has been extremely involved with the girls' basketball team throughout her daughter's time there. Kathleen volunteers frequently for the team's booster club and helped sell raffle tickets at Friday night's event.
“Coaches against cancer is for every cancer,” Kathleen said. “Breast cancer gets a lot of awareness, which is wonderful and great, but this is for everything. There are so many cancers out there, so this was something I really wanted to help her out with.”
Kathleen's diagnosis gave Clark the extra motivation to organize Friday's event. With the help of assistant athletic director Karim Fisher and a number of volunteers, Friday night's events were very successful.
Both Timber Creek and Eastern wore special shirts during warm-ups on Friday night. The Chargers also wore special socks during the game. To help raise money, the team sold T-shirts and also had a raffle table. In addition, there was a three-point shooting contest at halftime where five randomly selected people in the crowd who bought raffle tickets were selected to compete, with the winner receiving two tickets to a Philadelphia Phillies game next spring.
Along with all the planning, organizing and fundraising by the volunteers, Clark said her team did a great job of also getting involved.
“They were excited about it, because of us being involved with it last year at Cherokee,” she said. “I told them that they were each going to have to sell a T-shirt to somebody. They had no problems doing that.”
“It was nice that everyone helped out,” Meghan said about her teammates. “We only had to sell one shirt, but a lot of people sold more than that.”
"It definitely is a great thing for the girls and the team to feel a sense of community," Kathleen said.
Meghan admitted that she is a bit worried about her mother, especially after her grandmother's death just over a week ago. However, she said she was handling it OK.
Overall, Kathleen said that the team was hoping to raise $1,000 between all of the fundraising for the event. All proceeds will be donated to the American Cancer Society. But even beyond raising money, Kathleen also hopes that Friday's event encourages people to look out for themselves as well.
"Possibly, it reminds someone to get that mammogram they are overdue for, make that doctor's appointment for their annual physical," she said. "I believe early detection is so important and if diagnosed early, cancer doesn't have to be such a scary word."