Making a World of Difference

Author: Julie Matthews
December 18, 2012

Julie Matthews

Julie Matthews

Director of Content & Social Media at The Side-Out Foundation
Julie blogs about her personal experience with leukemia and life from a patient’s perspective.She also writes about Side-Out news and events.She is a race walker, a dog lover, and a dedicated explore.org #bearcam watcher.
Julie Matthews

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by Kayla Anghinetti
Bishop Feehan High School, Attleboro, MA
Fall 2012

One of my most vivid memories is a phone call I received back in 8th grade. It was a cold Friday night; I assumed my best friend was calling about a sleepover or a trip to the movie theater. I answered the phone and heard her voice quivering. That day, my best friend’s mother, my ‘second mom’, was diagnosed with breast cancer. Almost three years later, news came from the hospital. In January 2011 this strong, beautiful mother, sister, and wife was cancer free. This year, she attended Dig Pink at Bishop Feehan High School and since then has told me again and again that she was awed. As a patient and survivor, she found our fundraiser inspiring. Knowing of her strength and fearlessness, the weight of her words are incredibly strong. To know that the effort I put into Dig Pink has had such an impact on others, in turn, has had an impact on me.

“As a patient and survivor, she found our fundraiser inspiring. Knowing of her strength and fearlessness, the weight of her words are incredibly strong.”

I’ve played volleyball at Bishop Feehan High School for the past four years and was always involved in the breast cancer awareness game held each October. As a senior this year, I chose to lead the entire program; I would be responsible for bake sales, poster making, fundraising, t-shirt sales, and, a new aspect of our event this year, a student tournament. I gathered the 42 girls in the volleyball program and coordinated the creating of posters and education of people throughout the school and local community, a part of the event that took center stage this year. Another of my main goals in leading Dig Pink was to show loving support to those in the community who have been affected in any way by the disease. To me, Dig Pink is a way to show all that attend, whether they are friends or family of a breast cancer patient, or even patients themselves, that they are not alone. Awareness is synonymous with knowing; knowing about the disease, knowing how it affects lives, and knowing that in this great big world, help, support, and compassion are always close by.

“To know that the effort I put into Dig Pink has had such an impact on others, in turn, has had an impact on me.”

From my year of experience with Dig Pink I have learned that a sense of purpose and determination can take you anywhere. For months I worked hard talking to administrators at school, speaking with my coaches, and organizing the student game. My time outside of school and volleyball was spent planning, working to make the event a complete success. Though nerves were high on the day of the game hoping everything would go as planned, to see the stands full of people dressed head to toe in pink was both unbelievable and rewarding. Even our rival volleyball team joined us that night to help our fundraiser in any way they could.

On October 25th, I learned that hard work, especially for a good cause, always pays off. I hope I set an example for the younger girls on my volleyball team and inspired them to keep the tradition strong in years to come. If I could give the girls I led any piece of advice or knowledge, I would tell them that their ambition and leadership has the power to change someone’s life. No matter how big or small the contribution, giving can make a world of a difference.

Comment


  • Marian M.

    Awesome, Kayla!!

  • Mike Hays

    My wife and I have followed beach volleyball since 1982, as I played lots of beach (novice) and we attended many, many AVP events. We also follow indoor vb. This past November she was diagnosed with breast cancer. She had a mastectomy and the breast they removed showed invasive cancer. We waited a week to see the oncologist, and he said she was lucky, as she would not need chemo. We are so thankful for this, and she is doing well. We obviously fully support breast cancer awareness and have done so for many years; not thinking it would directly affect us! A great cause and my wife has already helped a friend who has been diagnosed!

  • Julie Matthews

    Dear Mike,

    I am so happy to hear your wife is doing well! And how wonderful that she is able to use her own experience to help others. Being a volleyball enthusiast, you both must be so proud of the young players like Kayla who spearhead the Dig Pink events.

    I hope you and your wife continue to enjoy the sport and the blessing of good health!

    Julie
    Special Projects Coordinator
    The Side-Out Foundation


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