With six games ahead this month, the Chapman women’s volleyball team is using some of its time on the court to shed light on an issue that, for some players, hits close to home.
The women’s volleyball team will wear golden laces for the month of September as part of a conference-wide recognition of children diagnosed with cancer, said Nayelli Munoz, junior outside hitter.
Volleyball head coach Mary Cahill said she hopes college students use Childhood Cancer Awareness Month to take a step back to think about others.
“I just think it’s important for college kids to know that there’s other things out there than themselves. They’re all healthy and athletic, so it helps them recognize that there are other issues out there,” Cahill said.
In spring 2016, six-year-old Carter Ankeny became a part of Chapman’s baseball team through Team Impact, a program that connects children who have chronic and life-threatening illnesses to collegiate sports teams.
Carter died in October 2016 after his leukemia relapsed, but Chapman’s athletes said knowing Carter and his family drives them to be better athletes and to continue supporting the search for a cure.
Cahill said Carter’s story sparked a personal connection with the golden laces cause for her.
Munoz said she wears the laces with pride knowing she is supporting a prevalent cause.
“I think it’s important (to raise awareness) just because there’s so much that still needs to be done,” Munoz said. “(We want) to spread awareness and let everyone know that we support what these people are going through and recognize their struggle.”
Munoz said she wears the laces not only for pediatric cancer, but to support of Chapman football’s offensive lineman Hunter Spriggs, who was diagnosed with leukemia for the second time May 2018.
“There is someone on the football team who we all are supporting. For me, that’s where my support comes from,” Munoz said.
Spriggs is recovering from a bone marrow transplant and hopes to return to campus in the spring, he told The Panther Sept. 3. Through the golden laces campaign Cahill said the entire conference hopes to do their part supporting the pediatric cancer cause.
“There’s so many causes out there,” Cahill said. “But there’s obviously so many kids with cancer, which is terrible. We just want to bring awareness to that.”