Wheatmore volleyball looks to spike cancer

Wheatmore and Trinity varsity volleyball teams pose for a photo with a pink firetruck before their “Dig Pink” game at Wheatmore high school during a PAC-7 conference game in Trinity, NC on September 23, 2021. PJ WARD-BROWN/NORTH STATE JOURNAL

Annual “Volley for the Cure” raises funds, awareness for worthy cause

TRINITY — So many good vibes stemmed from last week’s volleyball match between Trinity and Wheatmore.

The occasion was dubbed “Volley for the Cure,” designated as an event to bring awareness to the fight against breast cancer and to raise funds for the cause. It’s a decade-long tradition connected to the Wheatmore team.

Wheatmore coach Sara Beth Campbell watches her team against Trinity during a match Sept. 23, 2021. PJ WARD-BROWN/NORTH STATE JOURNAL

“The whole gym is decked out in pink,” Wheatmore coach Sarah Beth Campbell said.

Breast cancer survivor Wendy Harmon gave a speech and delivered the ceremonial first serve. She’s a 1987 Trinity graduate, while her husband, Doug, has been a substitute teacher at Wheatmore.

The event provides a way to recognize the journey that many women have gone through because of cancer. A huge raffle and bake sale are part of the fund-raising effort.

One of the parent organizers is Christy Swaim Barker, who has been involved for several years. Her daughter Abbey Parrish is a former Wheatmore player, while daughter Norah Parrish is a freshman on the Wheatmore team.

Barker said “Volley for the Cure” began in 2010 as a school project by then-student Courtney Raines, who did so in honor of her mother’s fight with breast cancer. From there, the event grew and has taken place every year (except for 2020 because of the pandemic).

“It’s about awareness to help support local people who are fighting cancer,” Barker said. “It’s a big event and a lot of work, but very much worth it. We encourage others to support this cause.”

Barker and Campbell said the Wheatmore players’ involvement through the years has been an integral part of “Volley for the Cure.” They take part in securing funding for the event.

“It’s a good opportunity for players on the team to go out in the community,” Barker said. “It helps instill values of giving back to the community.”

Since the inception, more than $10,000 had been raised prior to this year. The tally from last week is still growing and as of the weekend nearly $3,000 had been raised. The funds will go to Rady Lady Foundation and Pink Cares Piedmont – a pair of local groups helping patients and their families deal with the disease.

Barker has been aided by parents Cindy Grubb (daughter Alliee) and Sandy Eidenberger (daughter Maci) on the organizing side. More than 60 items were part of the raffle. Cancer survivors in attendance are recognized and provided a gift.

Wheatmore’s student section showed up strong to support the volleyball team against Trinity on Sept. 23, 2021. PJ WARD-BROWN/NORTH STATE JOURNAL

Campbell said three Trinity players and up to nine of the Wheatmore players had special designations or connections to someone with breast cancer.

With the rival schools involved, the plan moving forward is for “Volley for the Cure” to switch back and forth between the schools. So next year’s designated match will be at Trinity.

On the court Thursday night, Wheatmore avenged an earlier loss by winning 25-19, 23-25, 25-23, 25-15. Taghan Mooney posted 15 service points, Taylor Richardson recorded 13 service points (including three aces), Gracie Hodgin had eight service points and seven kills, Haley Hedrick supplied five kills and five service points and Emma Atwell provided five kills.

“It was nice to play well,” Campbell said, noting the atmosphere. “Both schools had good-sized student crowds.”

For Trinity, Gracie Ballard’s 12 kills and two aces were among the highlights. Ella Johnson had 11 service points, Kaitlyn McCoy notched seven kills and Karrington Batten had five kills.


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