Digging for Dollars

Every 12th of the month, we tell you a story about a breast cancer survivor. But this month's Buddy Check 12 story is a little different. It's about the Southeast Missouri State Volleyball team and what players are doing to raise money for breast cancer awareness programs. They're doing it to raise awareness, but also to pay respect to someone who died of breast cancer, their coach's mom.

Southeast volleyball player Emily Wahlman says, "We can make a difference in someone else's life and save lives by doing this program." There's a sense of pride among the Southeast Volleyball players. It doesn't take a win for them to feel this way. This pride is from knowing they're raising money for breast cancer education and awareness. Emily Wahlman was a freshmen when coach Cindy Gannon's mom died of the disease. "Our team is very close and the news hit us very hard," Wahlman says. Coach Gannon's mom went to a lot of our games and we've always been a team that relies on family. I consider Coach Gannon like a mom when we're away at school." That's how all the players feel. That's why they wanted to do anything they could to help. Coach Gannon says, "When you first hear breast cancer, I didn't know anything about the disease or anyone who had it until my own mother was diagnosed. She suffered with it for four and a half years, she was cancer free for four and a half years, then it came back. We're a very close knit group. The volleyball team here at Southeast is our family. When they watched the devastation I went through with my mom, when I approached them with the program, they were all excited about it."

Excited for the Dig for Life program. Players raise money every time they get a dig at any home match during the month of October. This is the team's second year for the program. It's raising money for a good cause, but to coach Cindy Gannon, it's just one way to remember her mom. Coach Gannon says, "I miss her dearly, but I also know doing things like this, programs like this will help. She's here in spirit, and this is something we do for my mom."

Last year, the Southeast volleyball team raised $2,700.00. So far, the Dig for Life program has already brought in over $5,000.00 for breast cancer awareness and educational programs. Even better, because it's just October 12th, the team is hoping they can raise a lot more before the month is over.