UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio (WCMH) — The central Ohio volleyball community is small, tight-knit; a family, really.
So when Carole Morbitzer, current coach with Mintonette club and former Hamilton Township head coach, learned she had breast cancer, the support came in waves.
“What you don’t know is the support that all of you have done in these past 17 years for Volley for the Cure and Race for the Cure is now helping me fight this battle,” Morbitzer said at Hamilton Township’s Volley for the Cure this year – an event she started as the school’s coach.
Over at Upper Arlington, head coach Meghan Terwilliger used to coach club volleyball with Morbitzer and wasn’t surprised that her colleague was in attack mode.
“She’s just a spitfire!” Terwilliger said. “So I know she will put just as much energy and fight into fighting this disease as anything else.”
On Tuesday night, the Golden Bears will host their Dig Pink! Event, a fundraiser to benefit the Side-Out Foundation, which raises funds for awareness of metastatic breast cancer.
“So, in volleyball, a side-out is when you regain control over the ball,” Upper Arlington junior Ava Brown said. “Basically, you have the ball now and you’re up to serve.”
“And I think it relates to cancer because we want women to take back their bodies,” Upper Arlington junior Kaley Campbell added. “Get back in control of what’s really happening.”
Terwilliger said the event is a way for the disease to not be so abstract for her players and it will even be more emotional for her this year.
“One of my best friends from college was diagnosed with breast cancer a few weeks ago, so it made this event and that reality just that much more personal for me,” she said. “Everyone has a connection to breast cancer in some way – has a loved one that’s had breast cancer or has dealt with it someway in their family, so it takes it from an idea to an experience. Every kid has an experience with the disease and it makes the event that much more special.”
The Golden Bears players don’t play for Carole Morbitzer, and most don’t even know her personally, but they know what it means to support one of their community.
“It’s a great opportunity to be a part of it and you know the crowd is cheering for you and the cause that you’re playing for,” sophomore Riley Wardle said.
“In female athletics in general, we have things we compete together, and this is one of those things,” Terwilliger said. “Everybody, no matter what team you’re on, is fighting against this disease and for the research to cure it.”
The Upper Arlington girls are hoping to raise $3,500 through the Dig Pink! event. The match is Tuesday, Oct. 10 and starts at 6:45 pm at the Upper Arlington Gym.