By Nicole Aguiniga
The eighth annual Dig for the Cure was held Tuesday at Lee's Summit West Fieldhouse at 5:30 p.m. The gym was transformed into a volleyball arena where Lee's Summit West and Lee's Summit North girls varsity volleyball teams played to block out cancer.
The Lee's Summit West Varsity Team is Tori Hunter, Kayla Brumley, Taylor Akason, Hannah Ratigan, Miana Wallace, Milanna Morgan, Erin Sermons, Irena Wyatt, Kylie McLear, Erin Waltz, Santana Lewis, Amelia Bushek, Elle Sandbothe, Baylie Anderson, Coach Lori Hanaway, Assistant Coach Mimi Harmon and Team manage: Caitlin Buchholz.
The Lee's Summit North Varsity Team is MacKenzie Nunn, Alex Haffner, Tory Richardson, Anna Demmer, Aubree Bell, Destiny Vaden, Mandy Kilgore, Ellie DeBacker, Erin Paulakovich, Coach Rhea Moses and Assistant Coach Deborah Parker.
Both high schools and the many Dig for the Cure sponsors came together to raise approximately $23,000. The funds will benefit The Look Good Feel Better organization, including 13 Kansas City cancer hospitals, that is dedicated to improving the self-esteem of those undergoing cancer treatment. The group provides beauty techniques to help manage the appearance-related side effects of cancer treatments. The event also benefited the Erin Andra Wilson Foundation, which helps provide emotional and financial assistance to families of children with cancer.
A raffle and auction also took place at the event. Items included a Dig for the Cure quilt, a Titan team volleyball, a Bronco team volleyball, an Eric Hosmer-signed bat, Alex Gordon-signed World Series baseball, Lorenzo Cain-signed postseason baseball and more. All proceeds of the raffle and auction went to benefit Look Good Feel Better and the Erin Andra Wilson Foundation.
The Lee's Summit West High School volleyball team issued a doctor's challenge to 50 local medical professionals to donate $100 to help the fight against cancer. The goal was to reach out to the medical community in hopes of uniting medical professionals with local cancer survivors and fighters. 44 local doctors answered the challenge.
Dig for the Cure celebrated cancer fighters and survivors, and honored those who had lost their battle, in a procession onto the court to recognize each person's journey.
The event paid tribute to Lee's Summit West mother Jennifer Bishop, who walked on the court with her husband, kids and parents during the processional. Bishop was diagnosed July 17 with an aggressive form of breast cancer. By July 29 she was in the hospital undergoing several surgeries and is now faced with 16 rounds of chemotherapy.
"Breast cancer turned our lives upside-down, but I am standing strong and fighting against this. I am blessed to have my faith, family and friends supporting me as I battle through cancer and chemo. I know that there is a long road ahead on this journey, but this is something I will fight through and stand proudly as a survivor."
Bishop explained the importance of Dig for the Cure and events like it. "Events such as Dig for the Cure are vital for supporting those affected by cancer and spreading awareness. Through these types of events we can raise funds to support those who are currently battling cancer."
"What would I tell those who are also fighting? I would tell them to stand strong, keep their faith, and know that they are not alone in this battle. To wake up every day rejoicing in the beauty of the day and find the positives in every situation," said Bishop.
"This battle that I am going through may not be about me, but the lives that I affect along the way. Since being diagnosed and undergoing chemotherapy there have been many 'life lessons' learned. Cancer may have taken away my hair, left me with scars and knocked me down a few times, but it will never take away my spirit."