Feb. 9, 2023 - The Pieper High School Warriors basketball program is hosting a Coaches vs. Cancer game on Friday, Feb. 10, with special guest, a PHS student who is battling renal medullary cell carcinoma.
Payton Blakely, 17, an 11th-grade student at PHS, was diagnosed in October when a CT scan revealed a tumor on her left kidney and another in her left lung. Since then, she has had a kidney removed and completed six rounds of chemotherapy with three more to go.
On Friday, she gets the best seat in the Warriors “arena,” the coach’s chair on the court, when her friends and classmates take on the Seguin Matadors in their last home game of the year.
The action on the court along with fund-raising for the American Cancer Society begins at 5 p.m. with two consecutive games in Pieper’s two gymnasiums. Fans can watch the undefeated Warriors boys freshman team or the junior varsity team vs. Seguin followed by the varsity game at 6:30 p.m.
Attendees for both schools are asked to wear yellow in honor of Blakely and all those who have been touched by a cancer diagnosis. Coaches vs. Cancer is a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC).
Warriors head basketball coach Michael Herrera wanted to host a Coaches vs. Cancer game to show Blakely that she isn’t fighting alone and with hopes of giving the community an opportunity to help fight cancer through donations to the American Cancer Society.
“There is more than the game of basketball, but basketball can be the vehicle to support a great cause,” says Herrera, who also teaches health science at PHS and has had Blakely in class. “We want her to know that she is not fighting alone. She is very strong. She has more wisdom than most kids her age, and she is a beacon of light.”
Blakely, who enjoys golfing, bowling, painting, shopping and going to the movies, was first diagnosed with a neuroblastoma tumor at age 2 and completed seven rounds of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and surgery. She was in remission until her current diagnosis this past year.
“If I can do it,” she says, “you can do it, and nothing is impossible.”
Donate now or head over to the games starting at 5 p.m. Friday, Feb. 10, and support the PHS Coaches vs. Cancer campaign. Blakely and others who are fighting a cancer diagnosis are the first to say, “thank you.”
-Payton Blakely, an 11th-grade student at Pieper High School, will be the PHS Warriors Basketball team’s special guest during its last home game Friday, Feb. 10, for the Coaches vs. Cancer fund-raising event.