Cat Andersen’s Goddess Approved Chef Challenge

keller 1

If you’ve ever been told by your doctor that she’s concerned you might have cancer, you know exactly how I felt.  Terrified barely covers it.

An even deeper panic hit me when I realized it would be impossible for me to afford the next round of testing.  My insurance didn’t cover it and the cost was a third of what I made in an entire year.  I was just a couple of years out of college and I was barely making ends meet, living paycheck to paycheck.  There was no way. I told the doctor to cancel my appointment.  I couldn’t get the tests. I spent the next several months wondering if I had cancer, wondering if it was growing and spreading throughout my body.  And I was so scared to tell anyone because I was afraid it would make it more real.

I thought to myself, surely there’s got to be some foundation out there that helps people in these situations.  I mean, I see 5K’s, cancer walks and ribbon sales being held all the time?  People are raising money to fight cancer every day.

I started making phone calls.  I called every cancer-related organization and association that I could think of and asked if they could help.  They were all very sweet and sympathetic but not one said they could help me.  They said they were sorry but the money they raised went to cancer research, not direct funding for people who need help paying for tests or treatment.

You can imagine my panic level at that point.

swizzle stick picA few months later, by random luck, I came across an obscure state initiative where you could apply for a voucher, which would pay for the testing I needed.   My application was approved. When I received the voucher — I’ll never forget it — it was a green slip of paper – I vowed that one day, when I became more financially established, I would help raise money for an organization that offered direct help to people.  Don’t get me wrong, I firmly believe in raising money for research, and that to find a cure, we have to look at the big picture.  But I also believe, in the meantime, we have to look at the little pictures too – The people who need help fighting cancer right now.  That’s what I love about the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.  They do both, and not just breast cancer, but all types of women’s cancers.  That was Kay Yow’s mission.  Here’s a link for more on Kay Yow:  Kay’s Story

So what happened with my test?  It came back negative.  No cancer.  I was lucky. Ever since then, I’ve never stopped thinking about the thousands of women who can’t say the same.  Who find themselves where I was:  Left wondering what will happen.

felix cancer fighting foods

Here’s how the #GoddessApproved Chef Challenge works:

Every Friday, a different Chef will be challenged to use his or her culinary prowess to cook a gourmet, cancer-fighting dish – aka- a Food of the Goddesses.

The dish must:

A. Be Deliciously Divine

B. Fit into the Paleo Lifestyle

(i.e. Grass-fed meats, fish/seafood, fresh vegetables, eggs, nuts, seeds, healthy oils, Low Sugar/Low carb)

C. Be 100% Real Food: No additives, chemicals, antibiotics or hormones

Each cooking segment will be filmed and every Friday we’ll post a new segment on my #GoddessApproved Chef Challenge cooking channel.  This way we can all learn how to cook gourmet-level cancer-fighting dishes!  Pow!

nico main photo with singer

When a Chef cooks a dish that is #GoddessApproved, we’re asking any one who has been touched by cancer and believes in supporting this cause to make a donation to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund here:  #GoddessApproved Donation Site

Cat Andersen is a broadcast journalist and TV host and has chosen the Kay Yow Cancer Fund as her charity of choice for the #GoddessApproved Chef Challenge. Fascinated by food and a self proclaimed nerd by nature, she spends her off-hours researching healthy, cancer-fighting foods and creating delicious dishes with those very ingredients.  The concept of the Goddess Approved Chef Challenge gives the professionals a crack at it to raise money for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

The History of Play4Kay

On December 3, 2016, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund will celebrate 9 years of doing what Coach Yow asked us to do – raise funds to support women’s cancer research. As this significant milestone approaches, we reflect on the Play4Kay initiative and its huge role in our success.

Coach Yow wanted to be a part of finding an answer in the fight against women’s cancers. She believed we would make a greater impact as a collective team, working together to accomplish one goal. 

The Kay Yow Cancer Fund

During the final stages of her battle with cancer, Coach Kay Yow had a vision to unite a nation of coaches, players, and the women’s basketball community to do something for the greater good that far exceeds wins and losses on the court.kayyowmission copy

The Kay Yow Cancer Fund was born in December, 2007 and is a charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against women’s cancers by raising funds for scientific research, assisting the underserved, and unifying people for a common cause. To date, the Fund has allocated more than $5 million in support of women’s cancer research.

Coach Yow envisioned the women’s basketball community doing its part by funding research at a level that will create significant results – and lead to a cure. We can only do this with your help.

The History

The entire “pink phenomenon” in women’s basketball actually began during the 2004-05 season when Coach Yow’s cancer recurred, after being in remission for 17 years.

H4H Team (4)The WBCA sent an email to its membership encouraging women’s basketball teams to wear pink in honor of Coach Yow and all those battling cancer. Several years later, this movement resulted in the establishment of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and the fundraising initiative known as Play4Kay.

What is Play4Kay

Play4Kay is the grassroots fundraising initiative of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. It was originally called Think Pink, later became Pink Zone and most recently and finally, Play4Kay.  Numerous sports, groups and organizations have hosted Play4Kay fundraisers — and have made a lasting impact that resonated with their fans and the community, all while raising funds for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

She envisioned Play4Kay events being hosted across the country and benefiting the Kay Yow Cancer Fund –allowing us to support advanced research, extend the quality of life for those battling cancer, and provide hope -  so that one day, we can put an end to this formidable disease.

For more information about the Play4Kay initiative and how you can get involved, call our staff at 919-659-3308.

Shannon Strong

As told by Daphne Rivers, RN

On September 3, 2014, Shannon found a lump in her breast. She was 23 years old, a mother of two, and in no way your typical cancer patient.

A little more than a year ago, she had her first mammogram, then an ultrasound…then biopsies.  Breast cancer. Shannon had breast cancer at 23 years old. She was devastated, as were we.

The diagnosis revealed extensive cancer and Shannon elected to have a double mastectomy. At this point, she thought she was well on her way to recovery – yet another pathology report found more cancer in her lymph nodes.  Shannon added chemotherapy treatments to her ongoing journey, as well as 33 rounds of radiation.  In April 2015, she got the news that she was “CANCER FREE!”FB_IMG_1443478048390

As we look back at the past year, the week we learned that Shannon had breast cancer was one of the hardest weeks for us at The Skin Institute.  Her sister Heather, is a medical assistant in our office, and shared her fears for Shannon with us. A cancer diagnosis is one of the scariest things a person can go through. We were worried and anxious, yet despite our concern for her health, we saw a completely new side of Shannon. She embraced her struggle and fought it with everything she had.


When she lost her hair during chemotherapy, she turned it into a fashion statement. At first, she hid it with hoodies. Then moved on to hats. She tried a wig but that was not going to work, so she rocked the scarves; colorful, playful and oh so Shannon scarves.  Beneath the scarves, her beautiful eyes shined and her smile spread from ear to ear.

She became our hero, the little engine that could, a role model for our staff and our patients – there was no pity party, or “woe is me” – she did not wallow in self-pity, she swished her feet and got out!

Shannon’s journey made us all see that courage, tenacity and a positive attitude go a long way in life, and even longer when you are battling breast cancer.

In honor of Shannon and all those battling breast cancer, please consider donating to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.  Join us and let’s all be a part of finding an answer in the fight against women’s cancers.

Coach Kay Yow said, “When life kicks you, let it kick you forward.”  Shannon kicked it forward, and in fact, she kicked it out of the park!


Kay Yow Cancer Fund Announces Stephanie Glance as New Executive Director


The Kay Yow Cancer Fund today announced Stephanie Glance as its new Executive Director. Susan Donohoe is retiring from her position after a successful three-year tenure.

Glance is no stranger to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. She was instrumental in helping establish the non-profit organization in 2007, and Yow personally appointed her to serve on the Kay Yow Cancer Fund Board of Directors for life.  Most recently, she has led the Fund in the capacity of board president. On Sept. 7, 2015, the 17-member board of directors selected Glance as the Executive Director.

Stephanie Glance with Kay Yow in 2007.

“I am humbled and honored to be the next Executive Director of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund,” said Glance. Having the opportunity to work with Coach Yow for 15 years was an incredible blessing! She set a daily example of how to live life to its fullest during the best of times and how to walk gracefully through life’s most difficult times.”

Stephanie Glance served as associate head women’s basketball coach at NC State University for 15 years where she developed a strong relationship with Hall of Fame Coach Kay Yow. She was the interim head coach during parts of the 2004-05, 2006-07 and 2008-09 seasons, while Yow battled breast cancer. After leaving NC State University in 2009, she served one year as the recruiting coordinator and special assistant to Pat Summitt, head coach at the University of Tennessee. In 2011, Glance became head women’s basketball coach at Illinois State University, and has served as head women’s basketball coach at Columbia University since 2013.

Glance reflected on her early involvement with the Fund, “Being a part of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund from its initial stages until now has been an amazing journey,” she said. “It is extremely rewarding to know that people who are battling cancer are benefiting from the significant dollars raised through Coach’s fund. We have had tremendous leadership from our first two executive directors, Marsha Sharp, and, most recently, Sue Donohoe. I look forward to continuing and expanding the great things they have accomplished.”

Sue Donohoe joined the Kay Yow Cancer Fund in October 2012 and has been an integral part of numerous milestones and initiatives. To date, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund has allocated over $5.18 million in support of women’s cancer research. Donohoe worked diligently to expand Play 4Kay, an initiative started in 2006 at NC State University by Coach Yow, and has formed strong partnerships with numerous businesses and organizations across North Carolina, and across the country. Donohoe announced her retirement from the fund in August and will be moving to East Texas to be close to family.

Sue Donohoe addresses the crowd at Vanderbilt -Ingram Cancer Center in 2014.

Sue Donohoe addresses the crowd at Vanderbilt -Ingram Cancer Center in 2014.

“It was my intent each and every day to work hard to carry out Coach Yow’s mission for the Fund,” said Donohoe. “It has been an honor and a blessing to serve both on the board of directors andas the Fund’s executive director. There has been a lot of good work done, by many, to build the Fund into what it is today and more importantly, what it can continue to grow to be. The opportunity to serve in this role has been a very meaningful and fulfilling experience.”

The Kay Yow Cancer Fund Board of Directors is confident that the Fund is positioned for continued success with the hiring of Glance. She has a strong working relationship with key partners of the Fund including the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA), The V Foundation for Cancer Research, ESPN and the Fund’s founding partner, Nike.®

“The Kay Yow Cancer Fund has been a galvanizing force in the world of women’s basketball and it has become a major player in the fight against women’s cancers,” said Sherri Coale, head women’s basketball coach at the University of Oklahoma and President of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund Board of Directors. “We were so fortunate at our inception to be led by the passion and wisdom of Marsha Sharp, and then for the last three years by the vision and dedication of Sue Donohoe. Their leadership has not only tangibly impacted cancer research through the application of over $5 million in grants – it has fueled an awareness with momentum that will continue to grow under the guidance of Stephanie Glance.”

About the Kay Yow Cancer Fund

The Kay Yow Cancer Fund was officially founded on Dec. 3, 2007, from the vision of the organization’s namesake Kay Yow, former NC State University head women’s basketball coach. Coach Yow was first diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987 before succumbing to the disease on Jan. 24, 2009.  The Kay Yow Cancer Fund is a 501 (c)(3) charitable organization committed to being a part of finding an answer in the fight against women’s cancers through raising funds for scientific research, assisting the underserved, and unifying people for a common cause. For more information on the Kay Yow Cancer Fund or to make a donation, please visit Follow the Kay Yow Cancer Fund on Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.


The First 4Kay Golf Classic, with Kay and For Kay

Blog post written by Marsha Sharp

Marsha Sharp

Marsha Sharp, retired head women’s basketball coach at Texas Tech University and lifetime board member of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. Sharp also served as executive director of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund from 2009 until 2011.

I think the inaugural Kay Yow Golf Tournament in 2008 will always be the favorite one for all of us who were there. The reason is obvious, because it was the only one we were able to share with Kay.

From the very first conversation about the tournament, it was apparent how excited she was about gathering as many coaches, and other folks who loved our game, to have as great a time as possible for a cause so close to our hearts.  Kay was interested in every detail; she wanted to make sure that we took good really good care of everyone.

One of my favorite directives she gave to me was to make sure there was enough shrimp – so everyone could have as many as they wanted.  She wanted it to be a party everyone would remember forever.

We were so engaged in trying to get people to the tournament that we didn’t spend much time with auction items the first year.  No problem for Kay.  She had brought a bag full of basketballs and other items and had Pat Summitt, Geno Auriemma, Bill Self and Tubby Smith, among others, sign them on the spot.  While they were signing, she was auctioning.  Who was not going to bid with that going on? It was a fabulous evening.

The next day was golf itself.  My GREATEST memory of any Kay Yow Cancer Fund event I have ever been to was this day, and Kay.  She wasn’t feeling all that well and was struggling to walk because of pain in her feet — her toenails were coming off and to wear shoes was a major issue.  Can you imagine?  I set this stage to say how remarkable it was for her to climb up on every green or tee box to take a picture with every group, and every individual who was in Dallas, TX  that day.

Since that day I have been in lots of offices where that picture of Kay sits proudly on a desk.  I am looking at mine right now.  Every day, I am reminded of my friend who embodied courage, servant leadership and friendship more than anyone else I have ever known.

I pray God’s blessings on this great mission known as the Kay Yow Cancer Fund and know we all will fondly remember Kay as we “Play 4Kay” this year at the 2015 4Kay Golf Classic in Pinehurst, NC.

Header image, left to right:  Stephanie Glance (Kay Yow Cancer Fund Board President), Kay Yow and Marsha Sharp at the first 4Kay Golf Classic in 2008.