Photos: Alyssa Noble
October is normally the month that fall sports teams support breast cancer awareness and raise money for the cause. But this year, the Wartburg volleyball team is raising colon cancer awareness in support of a teammate.
The team started the season knowing that freshman Bre Bader’s father, Ron Bader, was struggling with colon cancer and decided to switch the annual “Pink Out” game to a “Blue Out” for Thursday’s match against Dubuque to help raise awareness.
“Bre lost her dad after preseason and by that time we knew her really well,” Jennifer Walker, co-head volleyball coach, said. “I talked to the athletes about the pink shirt design, but they said, ‘You know coach, we really want to do colon cancer for Bre,’ which I thought was a great idea especially because it was from her teammates.”
Bader, the libero on the junior varsity squad, got to play late in the final set of a 25-17, 25-20, 25-10 Wartburg victory Thursday, recording three serve receptions and no errors.
A freshman from La Porte City trying to adjust to college life without her father, Bader appreciates what her teammates have done.
“They have been really supportive over the last couple of months and they have been basically family to me,” Bader said. “They said that they would always be there for me and when my dad did pass away, most of them all texted me which made it special.”
Senior captain Bailey Wilson could not believe this tragedy happened to someone so close to home.
“Bre is such a great positive person that she deserves everything in the world,” Wilson said. “For this to happen to her family is so devastating, but her family is so strong, supportive and trusting in God. We just wanted to do it for them.
“It is really hard to put ourselves in her shoes since most of us have not experienced a loss of a parent, but we are trying to do the best we can to offer her support when we can.”
It has not really set in that Bader’s father is gone, but she says the support she has received has made it a better transition than not being in a sport.
“If I was not involved with Wartburg volleyball, I think that I would not be as social,” Bader said. “I would be in my room alone a lot. They are really great people and knowing that they will be there even just to hang out is really nice.”
Bader also said that she knows her father is still with her every day by sending her little signs.
The volleyball team sold 100 more T-shirts than they normally do for cancer awareness, Walker said.
Wilson also said it is a great way to incorporate the community into something that is special to the team.
“I think it is great opportunity to involve the community along with Wartburg to create awareness. It helps to know that someone on the team can relate to the organization,” Wilson said. “I just love that Wartburg can support one another to give that community feel that people love about Wartburg.”
To donate to the Colon Cancer Coalition, visit coloncancercoalition.org and follow the links.