Volleyball team makes impact in community by bringing joy to cancer patients


photo or infographic by courtesy of Michael Storms

FOURTH QUARTER. Receiving his 10th of 12th rounds of chemo, Coach Michael Storms starts what he coined the “fourth quarter” of his treatment. After experiencing chemo with her husband, Coach Megan Storms recruited some of her volleyball players to spread cheer at the hospital where Storms and many others receive cancer treatment.

The room goes silent as one is told they have a life-altering disease. They feel powerless as they decide which route to take to terminate the tumors and cure their cancer. As they go through chemotherapy in a room with people they do not know, feelings of sorrow fill their minds. This issue hits close to home for the Wildkat volleyball team seeing as their coach’s husband frequents the same hospital to receive his chemotherapy.

Over the past few weeks, girls volleyball visited the hospital to help fill the countless hours of treatment with conversations, coloring books and other activities. 

“This summer, my husband was diagnosed with cancer and I went with him when he began to get chemotherapy treatments,” volleyball coach Megan Storms said. “After going with him a few times, I got the idea to bring some of the volleyball girls to hopefully spread a little joy to the other patients in this situation. I had the girls make goodie bags, write notes and then visit with the patients.”

With the busy lives teenagers live, it may be hard to focus on real-world issues. Visiting the hospital gave the volleyball team a chance to see outside their high school viewpoint.

“Speaking with the patients while they received chemotherapy was honestly heartwarming to me because I got to see what life is like for those going through treatments,” junior Grace Wilder said. “Seeing them suffer really put things into perspective for me. It made me feel really good that I was able to talk to them and make them laugh. They really appreciated it.”

Chemotherapy recipients sit in a room for hours as chemicals are pumped into their bodies. The volleyball team visiting them helped ease the pain of sitting alone

“The nurses talked to me about how much it meant to everyone,” Storms said. “I got some emails and letters of gratitude from various patients we visited. The conversations about how much joy we brought to the patients motivate and encourage me to keep visiting them.” 

Simple gestures like board games can mean the world to the people that need it. The volleyball team recognized this. 

“We walked into the section of the hospital where everyone was receiving treatment. and they looked depressed,” junior Samantha Skelton said. “We brought crossword puzzles and coloring books to work on with the patients. I think we were really doing something good for them. We could tell they were filled with joy after our visit.”

Volleyball girls transformed the silent room into one filled with giggles and happy hearts.

“The volleyball girls made a huge impact on the cancer patients,” Storms said. “They showed compassion to these patients, and brought joy and hope to a place that is usually lacking those things. I believe it also made an impact on the volleyball girls who went. It brings me great joy to see the girls take part in these opportunities.”