The 2021 Cure Bowl is only a few months away! This is the Orlando Sports Foundation’s biggest event of the year and we can’t wait to celebrate all the cancer fighters, survivors, and thrivers out there! So mark your calendars for December 17 because kickoff is at 6pm ET on ESPN2!
This Warrior Wednesday, we spoke to Ginny Hitt about her mother, Emilyn Anderson Welch’s battle against cancer. Read Ginny’s story and why the Cure Bowl means so much to her! Read Ginny’s story below
OSF: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
GH:I have been a resident in Central Florida since 1979 (5). I am the youngest daughter of 3. I am married and living in Oviedo with my husband and two children Dalton (15) and Anderson (11). A 1998 graduate of UCF, I am a former educator in Seminole County with 18 years of sales and leadership experience. I am a very loyal UCF Fan-so much so I coached cheerleading there for 18 years as an assistant coach.
OSF:How did you find out about the Cure Bowl?
GH:I knew about the Cure Bowl about 8 years before it came to life. I was a part of the UCF Cheerleading program as a coach and I specifically remember in January of 2007 Linda Gooch telling me about a project that her husband, Alan, was hoping to bring to life with other Central Florida leaders. It was a bowl game that was going to really make a difference. This was especially impactful on me as my mother was a breast cancer survivor at that time.
OSF:What does the Cure Bowl and its cause mean to you?
GH: For me it is personal on so many levels. Not only because of my mother and all those affected by breast cancer but more because of the reason behind the Cure Bowl. Alan Gooch wanted to good and he fought hard to make the Cure Bowl a reality and to this day not one bowl game is like the Cure Bowl. Not only is this bowl game an opportunity for two college universities to come together for a post season game, but the money it raises for Breast Cancer research is the larger benefit. The cure bowl gives the opportunity for national exposure to a cause that means so much to me.
OSF: Who is the person(s) you are honoring?
GH: My mother, Emilyn Anderson Welch
OSF: How old were they when they were diagnosed with cancer?
OSF: What were they diagnosed with?
GH: Stage 4 Breast Cancer
OSF: How long was their battle?
GH:12 years (she did go in remission twice)
OSF: How would you describe your warrior to a stranger or to those reading this story?
GH: She proved that a stage 4 diagnosis is not fatal and she proved that the strength of the mind truly controls everything. 3 months after my mom’s diagnosis my father passed away. As the youngest of her three daughters, I made sure she knew I still needed her. She made the decision to fight. She was my warrior and we were blessed to have so much more time with her. She truly got to work on her mind though meditation, counseling and even becoming active in Tai Chi. With her diagnosis she was the case of “she really should not have survived”-but that was just not how she was mentally. She survived from a 1995 diagnosis for another 12 years. In today’s technology and research, I bet even better results will come for thousands.
Interesting info: My mom was a patient at a satellite office, if you will, of MD Anderson Orlando beginning in 1995. MD Anderson is a cancer research hospital based in Houston, Texas and at the time of my mom’s diagnosis they opened a satellite office in Orlando (The timing of that makes the hair on the back of our necks stand up). To our family it was no surprise that this is where my mom went for treatment. Ironically right out of college my mom was a chemist at MD Anderson in Houston. That made it personal for her, but even more so personal was that MD (Monroe Dunaway) Anderson was her great uncle. No one at that facility ever knew that, nor did they need to, but for us that connection was something that meant a lot to us.
OSF: Is there a memory you like to share?
GH: I was blessed to have so many more memories with my mom. She walked me down the aisle at my wedding and she did get to meet my son when he was born. One special memory was the second year of the cure bowl. UCF was playing Arkansas State in the Cure Bowl and I was coaching the cheerleaders for UCF. Linda walked me out on the field and had me look up into the end zone stands. There was a large photo of my mom in her memory. That moment was so special for me and meant the world to me. My friend wanted to honor my mother, and she did that for me and my sisters.
OSF: What message would you like to provide survivor in the community?
GH: That is a hard one to answer. I don’t think I have any words that would be impactful for a survivor. Cancer is not a death sentence and by being a survivor they know that. Thank you for fighting-I assure you that you have family and friends that are thrilled that you made that choice
Thank you Ginny for sharing your mother’s story!
If you or a loved one have been affected by cancer and would like to share your story, please fill out this form to be considered for our next Warrior Wednesday spotlight