Miners serve up breast cancer awareness
Kim Carnahan could probably count on one hand the number of volleyball matches she’s missed during her daughter’s high school career.
She just doesn’t miss the chance to cheer on the Miners, even if she was still recovering from four surgeries that she underwent to win her battle with breast cancer.
Tonight, Nevada Union’s championship club will pay tribute to Carnahan ” a one-year cancer survivor ” and all those touched by breast cancer, by donning pink pre-game T-shirts and pink hair ribbons for the Miners’ Sierra Foothill League match against Rocklin inside NU’s Ali Gymnasium.
All donations collected will go to the Sierra Nevada Cancer Center here in Grass Valley.
“I am organizing this as I am a one-year breast cancer survivor,” said Kim Carnahan, “and my daughter Paige plays on the varsity team and I thought it would be a meaningful way for the Lady Miners to kick off breast cancer awareness month.
“I think the big message I want to get out to everybody is the message of early detection. I actually found the tumor myself, it was very small but luckily for me we got it very early.”
She opted for bilateral mastectomies and reconstruction because she didn’t want to have the risk of recurring breast cancer.
“I was devastated. I was in shock. The first thing came to my mind was what am I going to do if my mom dies?” said Paige Carnahan, a 16-year-old junior on the NU squad, recalling her reaction upon learning the news. “I just went over to my best friend’s house and just sat with her and cried. You hear ‘cancer’ and you just think there’s no cure. Obviously there are treatments, but no cure. That’s what worried me about it.”
Kim Carnahan said the NU volleyball family was very supportive during her battle with breast cancer. And just recently, she said, a few other members of the team have recently learned that a loved one has been diagnosed with the disease, bringing the harsh reality closer to home for more of the Miners.
“I think,” Kim said, “being a girls team, I think they’re really proud and excited to be able to support it somehow.”
All the money donated to the cause with support either the cause of Project Pink, a fundraiser geared to help the local breast cancer center purchase new equipment, or the Barbara Schmidt Millar Foundation, which raises money to fund scholarships for women seeking a career in health care and pays for mammograms for those who cannot afford them.
Having the harsh reality of her mom’s life being in danger, Paige Carnahan said it was difficult for her to focus in the classroom last fall but the volleyball court somewhat served as a sanctuary.
“At points, I didn’t even want to go to school when she was in the hospital,” she said. “I wanted to stay home with her. It was the worst experience of my life. But volleyball helped me. It gave me something to do, something to focus on.”
As the Miners hit the floor in their pink T-shirts, leaving their traditional camouflage look in the locker room, and their pink hair ribbons, their girls also hope to raise awareness about the importance of early detection. Paige Carnahan now plans to develop the idea into her senior project next year, with hopes of elaborating on the idea with corporate sponsorship to raise further funding.
“I think it’s really important because I think that’s the reason my mom is here,” Paige Carnahan said. “The most important thing you can do is detect it early. It’s really a matter of life and death.”
Those wishing to make a donation, but cannot attend tonight’s match with Rocklin, should contact Kim Carnahan at 477-5154 or make a donation through Project Pink. The Pilates Place in Grass Valley is hosting a fundraiser for Project Pink on Oct. 11. For more information, call 477-5167.
To contact Sports Editor Brian Hamilton, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call 477-4240.
Lady Miners in the pink
Nevada Union’s varsity volleyball team will wear pink pre-game T-shirts and pink hair ribbons to acknowledge breast cancer awareness month during their match with visiting Rocklin today. The freshmen, J.V. matches start at 5 p.m., while the varsity follows at 6:30 p.m.
Donations may be made to the local cancer center at the game or by contacting Kim Carnahan at 477-5154.
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