An Admirable Angel

Ellen Toy is more than a coach to me; she is someone who I admire. I remember when I first met her in 7th grade volleyball, I was scared of her. I did everything that I could to not mess up in front of her. Once I got a chance to talk to her during practice, I found out that I had no reason to be scared.
 She was such a nice person and she truly loved coaching volleyball. During 7th and 8th grade, my team practiced with her often. I got to know her better throughout my season, and she inspired me to try out for the high school JV team. Believe it or not, I made the high school JV team as a freshman. Ellen was the coach for varsity, so I was not one of her players yet. At the PITT Summer Volleyball Camp my sophomore year, I was practicing with JV and I heard Ellen say, “Rach, come over here and play.” When she said those six words, I immediately ran over to her with a smile on my face. I was finally on varsity with Ellen as my coach.
            Ellen was diagnosed in October 2010 with Signet Ring Cancer, also known as Gastric Cancer. Signet Ring Cancer does not manifest itself in large tumors; it destroys tissue at the cellular level. She fought her hardest to try and beat the cancer, and that made her admirable to me. Ellen is honestly the strongest woman I have ever met. Soon after she defeated her cancer, Jaime Moran, my other coach, was diagnosed for the third time with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. The whole time Jaime was battling her cancer, Ellen was not only there for Jaime, but for the whole volleyball team. When Ellen told us that Jaime’s days were numbered, everyone was crying and upset. Ellen was there hugging each and every one of us and telling us that it was going to be okay. When my bestfriend Jenna Prusia died in December, Ellen was once again the rock for the whole team. She opened her front door for anyone who simply wanted to talk, cry or needed a place to go. On February 25, 2013, Ellen told us that her cancer had returned. She is going to have to go through the battle again, but she is ready to fight. She is unbreakable. I admire her honesty, braveness, courage, strength, beauty, and her love for everyone in her life. I feel blessed to have Ellen Toy in my life and as my volleyball coach.

By: Rachel Frye
Written: March 19th, 2013