History of Jam The Gym

This is year three for Jam the Gym, so it may be important to keep tabs on its history. On a Thursday Night in October 2009, on the way to the final volleyball game of the season at Franklin Regional, Head Coach Ellen Toy got the call all cancer patients will never forget. She had been diagnosed with Gastric Cancer. On board that bus along with the Kiski Area team, was Asst. Coach Jaime Moran. Jaime was a two time survivor of battles with Leukemia and immediately became one of Ellen's biggest supporters.
She helped Ellen get through that night, and in the weeks that followed organized fundraisers at both Pizza Hut and Dairy Queen. Jaime remembered how involved the community became during her battles, and felt it was her turn to pay it back. With Jaime's help(and her vast collection of hats!)Ellen began treatments. After surgery to remove 65% of her stomach, Ellen worked her way through treatments that included first Chemotherapy, then radiation, and then a combination of both. It was a very difficult regimen that left her 60lbs lighter at 95lbs! As tough as that was it couldn't prepare the girls for what was to come. Jaime took over open gyms during Ellen's treatments and in the spring of 2010 she started noticing deep bruising after exercising with the team. A week later, she received a third leukemia diagnosis. It was just too much for the close knit group around Kiski Area volleyball and the extended Cavalier athletic family. An idea was born. At the upcoming Relay for Life, we would gather as many family members, friends, former teammates, and former and current players and students of these two coaches. What resulted was the "Largest Single Team in Relay for Life history"! 650 members strong and known now as the Fluorescent Angels. The "Angels" raised $14,000 dollars for the American Cancer Society that night, but more than that ignited the movement that spawned "Jam the Gym". If we could do that for the Relay for Life, then what if we did something similar for Jaime. Almost as a gag, the term Jam the Gym 4 Jaime was floated. The more it was mentioned the more it gained steam. A volleyball match, with a ton of great prizes to give away, including a signed Sidney Crosby jersey! The atmosphere was electric. A crowd of 900 would witness a come from behind 5 set win vs section rival Penn Trafford and Jaime projected on the gym wall via two way Skype. Jam the Gym 4 Jaime raised $12,000 dollars to help defer some of the costs of Jaime's treatments, but again more than that started something even bigger. It was decided that Jam the Gym would be a yearly event. With Ellen on the mend and Jaime battling the side effects from her treatment course, Jam the Gym 2 would benefit three charities. They would include, The Mario Lemieux Foundation, the 9th Floor Child's Life Foundation at Children's Hospital, and the Cavalier Leadership Cancer fund(set up to provide financial help to teachers in treatment). Jam 2 also had great prizes and a competitive section match(Kiski beat Norwin 3-1) but that's only part of the story. $7,000 dollars were raised to be split between the three charities, and as good as that was, a template was being formed for the future of the event. Those involved in the Jam the Gym idea have always envisioned a future for this event that would help those suffering from the effects of cancer treatments, both financial and physical. With the strong participation of the Kiski Area student body, and in particular the Cavalier Leadership Council, it will be fitting that Jam the Gym 3 at least partially focus on students needs. Jam 3 will feature the first ever CLC Cancer Scholarship, awarded to a student who has directly been affected by cancer.(either themselves, a parent or sibling) Also benefiting will be The American Cancer Society, the organization that was so important in the Fluorescent Angels first year, and a fund set up for future community cancer needs. Jam the Gym 3 will also kick the volleyball up a level. This year Kiski Area will battle the Butler Golden Tornados, but after that match college volleyball will take the floor for the first time in Kiski Valley history! Kiski graduate and Head Coach Mike Bruno brings his squad from Point Park to do battle with the Seton Hill Griffins. It promises to be a great night of volleyball, fellowship, and fun. So there it is, the history and the future of Jam the Gym! Tim Toy