Owls host fundraiser before volleyball game



Tuesday night was about more than just a volleyball match.

Yes, the Owls welcomed Class 3A power Silver Creek to Lloyd E. Scott Gymnasium last night and the Dragons served as another good test for Seymour as they inch closer to the postseason. 

But volleyball was secondary to the Be The Match foundation, which was in attendance to enlist fans to sign up as a donor with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

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Seymour coach Angie Lucas says she and Silver Creek do a cancer awareness night every year and it changes depending on the host school. 

Cancer awareness nights are nothing new to high school athletics but Tuesday’s event had some extra meaning to the Owl volleyball team and one of its former players, Jessica Lucas.

Jessica, the daughter of Angie Lucas, played at Western Kentucky University with close friend and teammate Alyssa Cavanaugh. 

Cavanaugh was getting ready to travel to England, pursue a master’s degree at Northumbria University, where she would also play volleyball with the hopes of jump starting a professional career.

Less than a month before the move, she started having trouble with her workouts and began experience kidney pain. She went to the doctor, was diagnosed with a kidney infection but antibiotics didn’t help. 

So, she went to the emergency room, received a blood test and was told her white blood-cell count was way too high. She was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia on Sept. 5 of last year and started chemotherapy the very next day. 

Doctors told Cavanaugh the chances of beating the disease increase with a bone marrow transplant. Be The Match said more than 700 people have registered into the bone marrow registry in Cavanaugh’s name.

WKU held several bone marrow donor registry events during volleyball as well as men’s and women’s basketball games last November in Cavanaugh’s name. The organization said 622 people signed up during a four-day span. 

The program didn’t quite get that many people to sign up Tuesday night but any number would be a positive step in raising awareness.

Lucas was glad to be able to have the night in Cavanaugh’s honor. 

"We picked Be The Match because I just knew when Alyssa went through all of this, it could be happening to any of us," Lucas said. "As parents, we face some pretty tough moments and I knew when she was going through this I wanted to have this night for her."

Be The Match helped Cavanaugh find her bone marrow donor, which turned out to be father. 

You can learn more about Be The Match and their fight to save lives through cellular therapy online at bethematch.org. 

There you will find more information about the various blood cancers and ways to donate to the cause. 

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