GVB fights childhood cancer on and off court

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GVB fights childhood cancer on and off court

Hannah Lizano, Sports Editor

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On Sept. 17, Niles North girls volleyball will take on Niles West in an effort to promote awareness for athletes battling childhood cancer.

Coach Terri VanderJeugdt has motivated the girls to be hardworking athletes because she has seen her own child go through childhood cancer and the struggles that an athlete with cancer faces. With the girls on the team being healthy athletes, she wants them to reach their highest potential both on and off the court.

“I’m really big about character… anyone can be a good player, but can you also have that second part which is the character aspect? Having compassion for others, discipline… this year really for me is discipline, staying motivated, and really having that character of ‘am I a good person’,” VanderJeugdt said.

Girls varsity volleyball has done a great job this season on putting up a fight against teams that might be stronger competitors, but many of them faced their own challenges off the court in dealing with childhood cancer. The team has times where they were the supporter, the sibling, or have dealt with cancer themselves. It has hit close to home with the athletes which makes it easier for them to want to raise awareness and connect to the cause.

When asked about how this upcoming game compares to others, Lauren Hankes said, “My own sister was diagnosed with cancer when she was in eighth grade and it was really tough not only on her but also on my whole family… It is so different because we are playing for these people who have gone through so many hard times and it’s really just to honor them and we try to give it our all.”

At their game against Warren High School, the team put up a fight. Even though they did not leave with a win, they both knew how much work has gone in and that they made sure they didn’t leave with a blowout.

On Monday, Sept. 17 watch the girls go against Niles West on their childhood cancer awareness game. Admission into the game will be $1. All proceeds will be donated to Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer (MACC).