I can forge on. Ellen would have wanted and expected nothing less. So a year after Omaha, I set out on an adventure by myself.Read More
How do you thank a person who has been so influential in your life - who has helped form your values and mold your character - who has served as a teacher, coach and mentor - most of all, who has displayed genuine and sincere friendship.Read More
Championship point. This time it's Nebraska's own Jordan Larson Burbach who gets the final kill. The US Women's National team backs up last years World Championship with a 3-0 sweep of that same Chinese squad and wins the 2015 FIVB Grand Prix title right here, in Omaha Nebraska...
...and we were there!
Wait, what. Yes we were there. In the flesh, and some of the best part of the story is how we got there. So here goes...Read More
"Through the death of a teammate or the loss of a game, we helped each other. Not only did I grow by helping others, I learned what it was like to accept the comfort of others and how to let people in."Read More
I have learned that God will never give me anything that I cannot handle, he is always watching out for me and tests me knowing that I will make it through. He blessed me with countless sisters and one brother who I call my teammates. He blessed me with people to look up to, guide me, and provide words of wisdom, who I call my coaches. These irreplaceable people, who I call my team, they are the ones who I will carry with me in my future as guidance, love, stability, and strength.Read More
So many separate but forever linked stories about our teams, our players, our coaches, and our community. Each of them come with a theme, or more accurately a trait. Something that brings the story to a close, gives it meaning, or makes it powerful. Through it all, there is my dear friend Jodie.Read More
I got up before dawn today. Got into a car on a cold, dark Sunday morning, and headed for Monroeville. It's about a 35 minute drive from my house. Enough time for me to think, and so, here is this blogpost.
Getting up early isn't really sacrifice. Not when compared to real honest to God sacrifice. Soldiers signing up for duty they know is dangerous, police, firefighters and first responders race towards harm while others run away. This is sacrifice, and in the best of times we don't have to witness this too often. Lately we have witnessed it far to much.
But it is in the many smaller sacrifices that we can change the world around us, just a little. Nudge the good works needle just a bit in the right direction, so my alarm went off, and I got up to do my part.
I'm no hero, but off to Monroeville. Destination? The Pittsburgh Central Blood Bank. The cause. A platelet donation, directed at a young girl from our area, Bella Carabin. http://www.wpxi.com/news/news/local/blood-donation-shortage-straining-local-girls-canc/njkT5/ Bella is receiving treatment for a reoccurrence of a cancerous tumor in her brain. When she first needed platelets, none were available. This set her back, until her mom and caring people in our community where able to raise awareness and in turn, get folks out to donation centers all around Pittsburgh to help. Because of this, donations have spiked, but because of the holidays and the onset of flu season, they lag far behind where they need to be to serve patients like Bella.
What is the sacrifice, you ask?
I'm not going to sugarcoat the process. Sometimes it can be uncomfortable, although for me the last three or four have been really great. It takes time, usually about 2 hours, but sometimes a little longer. The seats are now way more comfortable than they used to be, and there is ample ways to distract yourself with the improvements of WiFi, and High Def TV's for movies or other viewing. All in all, the Central Blood Bank is doing everything they can to make the donation process enjoyable.
So again, you ask, where is the sacrifice?
I started donating during Jaime's illness, and there is no where else that I think of her more. Jaime received my platelets a day before she decided to end her treatments, so she quite literally took a piece of me with her. Luckily for me, she left far more behind. Her courage in the face of her fight motivates me to continue to schedule these donations. If my platelets can help someone, and I'm able to donate, then I will. Imagine the patients all over Pittsburgh who would benefit from an increase in blood and platelet donations, and then schedule one for yourself. Giving becomes it's own gift. Helping the sick is sacrifice. We can move the needle.
In the past week we have witnessed enough bad. Small sacrifice can stem the tide. Be a force for good, for Bella, and all those in need. What's two hours on a Sunday morning? Sacrifice.
You can join Bella's warriors on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/events/1542177946052814/
or learn how you can donate blood or platelets at http://www.centralbloodbank.org/
The story of the "Rope" has been shared, really, all over the world.
There are many who already know your story Ellen Toy, and now they know what an inspiration you are, even in exiting.
I belong to a group called Volleyball Coaches and Trainers, and their leader John Kessel was looking for some inspirational banquet stories, so I shared ours...
John Kessel, you ask for some of these, and in our program, there is no shortage of "impactful" moments. Our kids have been forced to grow up much faster than their peers, and our story has affected our entire region on it's worst days.
This years banquet was special because the five seniors were the last group to witness EVERYTHING
from Coach Ellen's initial diagnosis, to Coach Jaime's Passing,to losing a teammate in a tragic accident. They watched as Thad joined them on the court, and the subsequent turmoil that followed. They were at the meeting when Ellen relapsed, and they were so happy to get her back again this year...
Ellen is a teacher, so she relies on visual's in both her coaching and teaching. She brought a long piece of rope out at the banquet and told the players to all come and hold on to the rope, explaining that in her most difficult days, they helped her cling to that rope, and that she in turn had helped them hold on as difficulty and challenge washed over our team.
She told the seniors that the time had come for them to take their piece of the rope, and take it out into the world. Tie it on to something special, so it reminded them of this team, this story, and the support it symbolizes. She told them to never turn their back on friends and folks in need, always be quick to throw them the rope.
Then she took a moment to compose herself as she also cut off her piece of the rope, telling her team that it was also time for her to move on, that practices and training had become too difficult for her and that we would be sure to find them a suitable replacement, someone with the right mix of volleyball knowledge and the kind of grit and courage it takes to be a Cavalier.
The road has been good to us, the journey rich, but difficult. Don't know where the next bend in the road takes us, but here we go.
Again if anyone in Western PA has any interest in this opening, send me an email at email@example.com
I thought that Jaime's passing would be one of the most difficult things I'd ever been through, and so again, in the worst of times, we found a way to put together another Jam the Gym shortly after. Again, I believe WE GOT STRONGER. Standing in front of a crowd and addressing the death of someone so dear to me, all the while working to do the things she would have loved to see us do..Read More