COLUMBIA — Lindsey Petrick will never forget what it was like when she found out her grandmother had breast cancer.
“It was definitely a really scary time,” Petrick said. “That’s just not something you ever really expect. All of a sudden it hits you, and you’re like ‘Oh my God, I could lose this person forever.’"
Missouri (7-3) vs. Kansas (7-2)
WHEN: 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: Hearnes Center
However, things turned out all right for Petrick, a freshman middle blocker on the Missouri volleyball team. Six years ago, her grandmother Alice Kessler underwent a mastectomy and six months of radiation to treat the disease. Kessler's cancer went into remission and she has been cancer free since.
"It was very scary because I don’t get to see her that often," Petrick said, "and the fact that I may have not been able to say goodbye or anything like that killed me.”
Petrick’s story is just one of many that will be remembered Wednesday night at Missouri’s Big 12 Conference opener against Kansas. The match will serve as the team’s first Dig for the Cure match. One dollar from every ticket sold along with auction donations and various other fundraisers will go directly to breast cancer research through the Susan G. Komen Foundation.
Before the match all breast cancer survivors in attendance will be asked to stand and be honored. Haleigh Harrold, a marketing graduate assistant and coordinator for the event, said hearing their experiences has been enlightening.
“As I’ve been putting this together everyone’s been telling me their personal stories and it’s heartbreaking, but it’s beautiful at the same time,” Harrold said. “You don’t realize how many people are affected by it until you start planning something like this.”
For Petrick, the event provides an opportunity to give back. While her grandmother benefited from cancer research, Petrick knows many are not as fortunate.
“I really hope that all the money that we raise will save another life. Save another family from grief and missing a loved one,” Petrick said. “The whole game is just such a great cause. Any research, anything we can find out about this cancer is crucial. It affects everyone.”
Kessler won’t be able to watch the game from her Arizona home, so she will be eagerly awaiting match updates from Petrick's mother, who will be in the stands.
“I don’t have any way of watching the game,” Kessler said. “I won’t be going to one for a few months yet. I would like to very much, but everything isn’t possible at one time. Her mother calls me and lets me know how the game’s going. She keeps me informed on their wins.”
While Petrick's yet to play a minute on the court, she's proud of the impact her team can make off of it.
“I called her (Kessler) as soon as I found out the KU game was our ‘Dig for the Cure’ game,” Petrick said. “She was really excited that we were doing this. She’s so grateful. We’re all so grateful to have her alive. Anything we do to help out, it means a lot.”