Lady Chargers battle with Joy

CARBONDALE—Santa Fe Trail Lady Chargers’ volleyball marked last week’s home games with the Pink Out for Breast Cancer Awareness. The annual event hit close to home this year, benefiting team coach Joy Schmidt, who was diagnosed with breast cancer in March.

“I have been truly humbled by people’s generosity and kindness,” Schmidt said. “No words can express my gratitude for everyone’s kindness and good wishes.”

SFT assistant coaches Ann Fawl and Heather Berkefeldt organized the fundraiser, assisted by the team.

“Ann and Heather did an above and beyond job of organizing an ongoing fundraiser,” Schmidt said. “They started in the summer at the Overbrook Fair, selling ‘We Believe’ shirts.”

The duo moved more than 250 shirts along with pink bracelets sold by the team. Fundraising efforts and donations added up to more than $3,500 to go toward Schmidt’s medical bills.

A presentation was held between games Oct. 8, where the players made presentations to Schmidt.

“They had the seniors come out and they gave me letters,” Schmidt said. “They gave me flowers, cool wine glasses, a necklace with a pink glittery whistle and gave me hugs.”

The second-year head volleyball coach and 33-year teacher also gave a speech at the event.

I talked about how thankful I was for all the work they did,” Schmidt said. “It was truly a fun night.”

The assistant coaches acknowledged the Lady Chargers’ four years of breast cancer awareness events and talked about cancer and detection.

For Schmidt, detection came from regular check ups and monitoring abnormal lumps.

“They had looked at that (breast) for 15 years,” Schmidt said. “I’d had a mammogram in June, and in December, I thought things were different. I didn’t do anything about it until I went in for my annual check in March.

“You really should listen to your body,” Schmidt said.

It took several tests for doctors to detect the cancer, which eventually spread to Schmidt’s lymph nodes. She went through several rounds of chemotherapy, which was successful in reducing the cancer, a single mastectomy, as well as radiation therapy, which ended Tuesday.

“It was pretty hard, but you just do what you have to do,” Schmidt said.

Schmidt continues her battle with cancer as her Lady Chargers push into the post season as the second-ranked team in Class 4A Div. II with a 31-4 record. It conveniently lines up with a four-week break in treatment for Schmidt.

“It’ll be good,” Schmidt said. “I’m to the stage I don’t have to see a doctor for four weeks.”

Schmidt looks forward to putting her year of fighting cancer behind her.

“Hopefully, I’ll be able to go to Las Vegas in the spring and celebrate.”

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