published Tuesday, September 11th, 2012

Matches set to fight breast cancer

East Hamilton is hosting Notre Dame this afternoon in a high school volleyball match in which there will be two winners. One will be the Lady Hurricanes or the Lady Irish. The other will be the local chapter of the Breast Cancer Network of Strength.

Today's match is one of three scheduled in Hamilton County this season that's intended to raise money and bring about awareness of breast cancer.

The others are Walker Valley at Ooltewah next Tuesday and Soddy-Daisy at Hixson on Oct. 2, both set to start at 6 p.m. Proceeds from those matches will benefit the MaryEllen Locher Foundation Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarship money locally to students who have a parent who has been diagnosed with breast cancer.

This is the third year for East Hamilton's fundraiser. Coach Kristy Lenoir's sister-in-law, Misty Dobson, was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009.

"She's doing great," Lenoir said. "She was 34 at the time and had two young babies when she went through the whole gamut. That's why we started doing it."

The Lady Hurricanes plan to recognize breast-cancer survivors before the varsity match after the junior varsities play at 4:30.

Ooltewah has held a "Pink Out" each year since 2007. Lady Owls coach Elaine Peigen is a breast-cancer survivor and the team, which at the time included her daughter, Libby, surprised her with the first one.

The players adorned the gymnasium in pink, which has continued as a tradition. For the second consecutive year the Lady Mustangs are the Lady Owls' "Pink Out' opponent in a key District 5-AAA match.

"We try to bring breast-cancer awareness to the girls, and they really have a good time decorating every year," Peigen said. "We did it with Walker Valley last year and the dates seem to work out for us, so we decided to keep it the same."

Hixson's third yearly benefit takes place during October, which is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Coach Janet Tate likes the partnership the Lady Wildcats have formed with the neighboring Lady Trojans.

"I know most of the players," Tate said. "I know most of the parents. It's been a good association."

Buying T-shirts are one way to contribute to the Lady Wildcats' effort. One addition at Hixson this year is that pink floor tape will form the boundary lines.

"Rarely does one of the girls not know someone who has had breast cancer or been affected by it," Tate said. "I think it's good for them to give back."

Contact Kelley Smiddie at ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6653.

about Kelley Smiddie...

Kelley Smiddie is a sports writer who has worked at the Times Free Press for 12 years. He covers high school sports and softball. Kelley’s hometown is Chattanooga, and he graduated from Brainerd High School and graduated Chattanooga State and UTC. Contact Kelley at 423-757-6653 or ksmiddie@timesfreepress.com.

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