GW Women's Basketball Team Uses Sport to Heal Breast Cancer Survivors
May 21, 2012
WASHINGTON - On Saturday, April 28, the George Washington women's basketball team participated in the Healing With Basketball clinic at Lloyd Gym on the Mount Vernon Campus. For two hours, players engaged with breast cancer survivors throughout a guided basketball workout.
Healing With Basketball is a free monthly exercise clinic that is designed to help breast cancer survivors recover from surgery or treatment in a social environment. The program welcomes participants of all skill levels, and aims to teach the basics of basketball in a positive, growth-based environment.
Alongside new assistant coach Megan Duffy, the team practiced both basketball drills and strength-building exercises, which were geared towards building upper-body strength for cancer survivors. The women began and finished the day in a circle, sharing their experiences with cancer and what the program meant to them.
"Spending time with members of the Healing with Basketball program was truly special," Coach Duffy said. "These women are a true inspiration to our entire GW women's basketball program. Their spirit, resolve and positivity are qualities that our own team can take from them. We really enjoyed interacting with the women on the basketball court and hearing their stories."
After the program concluded, members of the women's basketball team felt lucky to have been a part of the experience.
"We performed community service earlier this season, but this was one of the first opportunities where we had the chance to work with people who have experienced breast cancer first hand," said freshman Chakecia Miller. "It was definitely a big inspiration for me because it was a reminder that we can't take our skills and abilities for granted. Not everyone is as fortunate as I have been, so I need to work that much harder to make the most of it. [This clinic] was great because it allowed me to do something I love, but at the same time have an impact on the lives of others."
Senior Sara Mostafa most enjoyed the personal bonds she was able to take away from the clinic.
"It was a really great experience to interact with the breast cancer survivors one-on-one," said Mostafa. "We got to know them by name, and learn things about each and every one of them. On [community service opportunities like] a walk, you get to see everything, but you don't get to meet anyone one-on-one. That difference made this experience really unique, and we're all really excited to come back and participate with these ladies again."
Members of the Healing With Basketball community also felt that they benefited from the shared experience.
"[The members of the GW women's basketball team] were wonderful role models of athleticism for our clinic members," said Lynn Grodski, Volunteer Program Manager of Healing With Basketball, and a breast cancer survivor herself. "What was inspiring was that they also showed up as themselves--vibrant, positive young women who pushed themselves as we pushed ourselves to run, jump, and pass."
After enjoying such a successful collaborative event, GW women's basketball and the Healing With Basketball community will continue to build their relationship as they both move forward.