We draw our strength from many places. Our supporters. Our partners. Players and their families. Courageous individuals like Kay Yow.

Cancer is something that has affected us all whether it’s personally or through a loved one. Share your story to let others know they’re not alone in this fight. In doing so, you’re providing hope and inspiration to others, and for that we sincerely thank you.

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Sport Clips ‘PLAY4KAY’...It’s More Than Just a Promotion

Submitted by Frances Strickland

I come from a family of 11 children, six brothers and four sisters. Growing up, we knew about cancer, we knew people with cancer, but we were not directly affected until one of my older sisters was diagnosed with stage 2 breast cancer at the age of 48. It had hit home. My family was devastated.

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In January 2012 my oldest brother, who was 62 at the time, was diagnosed with stage 4 colon cancer. Unfortunately, he did not heed the warning signs and prolonged seeing a doctor. Despite surgery and many treatments of chemotherapy, he sadly lost his battle in August of 2014 and went to be with our Lord. My mother, at age 83, was diagnosed with rectal cancer in August of 2012.

“I am no stranger to the word cancer, but didn’t think it would happen to me.”

In May of 2013, I found a knot in my breast. I had been diligent about getting my mammograms for the past five years, but I was paranoid at this point, so I went to see my doctor. They didn’t see anything but could feel the knot. I was told to go back to the waiting room. Then, I was sent to have an ultrasound. Again, nothing. My doctor decided to biopsy it. She said “Frances, I really think it’s just fatty material, so you don’t have anything to worry about.” I had a trip planned and decided to go. I actually felt good believing that all was well.

On May 9, on the birthday of my sister who battled cancer in 2010, I got the call. I was told it was invasive carcinoma, a rare form of breast cancer. We scheduled an MRI and the process began, starting with a double mastectomy. I chose a double; a single had to be done, but I didn’t want to leave any chances.

After finding out I had cancer, my first prayer was, “God, please don’t let me lose my hair.” It may sound silly, but losing your hair is one of the hardest things for a cancer patient to go through. Anyone who knows me knows my hair mean a lot to me.

Despite the fact that my cancer was at stage 3, it was a slow-growing cancer and had not traveled to my lymph nodes. This meant radiation only, NO CHEMOTHERAPY! Praise the Lord! I was not going to lose my hair. Four weeks after surgery, I began radiation treatments five days a week for six weeks. I had surgery and was back to work within six weeks. I often feel guilty about saying I am a cancer survivor, because I feel I was so blessed through it all. I was never sick, and with the exception of the skin burn from the radiation, that was really the only discomfort I experienced.

I was spared and given the chance to live and be a survivor of a disease that has affected so many. As Coach Yow said, “I’m not saying ‘Why?’ I am looking at all of the blessings I’ve had bestowed upon me. How can I say ‘why?’ or be upset with this one thing I am dealing with when I have all of these other blessings?” After I recovered, or when I finished my treatments, I made the decision that I wanted to use my experience to help others.

When I came back to work full time in October 2014, I decided to do a customer appreciation day. I wasn’t sure where I was going to donate the proceeds, however I knew I wanted to donate $1 for every MVP haircut to a nonprofit that is working to find a cure for this disease. It turns out one of the staff members of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund comes to the Apex, North Carolina Sport Clips store to get his hair cut and came in on Customer Appreciation Day. He saw our fliers telling customers we were raising money for them, and from there, the rest is history!

I am so thankful that my experience has allowed me to share my story and that Sport Clips has joined in the fight against women’s cancers by hosting a Play4Kay fundraising event (Sport Clips 4Kay) for the second year in a row!


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