Charleston girls basketball coach gives gift of life - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Charleston girls basketball coach gives gift of life

(Source: Nichole Cartmell/KFVS) (Source: Nichole Cartmell/KFVS)
CHARLESTON, MO (KFVS) - More than 100 girls basketball players across the Heartland helped raise money for breast cancer on Saturday during the Coaches Versus Cancer Shootout in Charleston.

However, girls basketball coach Josh Thompson is shutting out cancer in his own way.

"If you would've asked me ten years ago if I would've given blood the answer would've been a firm no," Thompson said.

Thompson is quick to acknowledge his fear of needles.

But that all changed about a year ago when he donated stem cells to a woman with leukemia.

"I had donated made a cheek swab about 5 or 6 years ago for a person in town with cancer, leukemia," Thompson said. "I didn't really think anything of it, hadn't heard back from them. And about this time last year, I got a phone call saying I'm a perspective match for a 29-year-old woman, would I be willing to participate. And without hesitation, I said yea I would."

Thompson went through with the procedure in March 2014 to save this woman's life-- an act of kindness for someone he couldn't pick out in a crowd that stands as an example for his players.

"I try to set a good example for what to do, most of the time, just try to make a difference in their lives, maybe just if one of them go on to do something else or save someone else's life, something like that, that's even greater," Thompson said.

However, most of his players already look up to him.

"He is a great coach. He is inspiring. And he pushed me to where I am now," Sierra Frazier said.

For many of them, Thompson is more than just a coach.

"He is trying to teach us, we're in high school now and pretty soon we're not going to be here anymore, we're going to be adults ourselves, going to college, living so he's trying to teach us how to be better people in the world," Cheyenne Randle said.

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