A Coach’s Inspiration

As National Breast Cancer Awareness Month wraps up, Dream General Manager & Head Coach Marynell Meadors shares the story of her mother's fight against breast cancer. The Atlanta Dream and the WNBA are committed to generating awareness and educating women about breast cancer. The Dream hosted a "Dream Pink" game on August 29, 2008 to help increase awareness and raise funds for local partnering organizations.

My mother was diagnosed with cancer in January of 1980 at the ripe old age of 70. She had never had surgery in her life. I was coaching basketball at Tennessee Tech at the time. She did not want to interrupt seeing any basketball games, so she did not tell anyone until the basketball season was over, including the Final Four (we were not playing).

She was one of the strongest advocates of women in sport that I have ever seen. It did not matter what sport it was-- she was watching. After the season was complete for everyone, she told me she was going to have surgery to remove a lump in her breast and if it was malignant, a mastectomy was to be performed. I was by her side during the surgery and she did have to have a mastectomy. Fortunately for her, she did not have to have chemo or radiation treatments after the surgery. She was very strong throughout the entire time she was recovering and stayed very active with her church, crafts and ceramics classes. She fully recovered with no reoccurrences of the cancer.

My mother was a very strong (stubborn) woman and I truly believe that is the reason she recovered so well. Her will to enjoy her life and the way she lived her life has inspired me beyond belief. She was back on the sidelines in the fall watching practice and enjoying the athletes she came in contact with. I think all my players loved her more than they enjoyed playing the game.

She lived to the great age of 92 and I will always use the values, work ethics, and the pure enjoyment she had for all sports as part of my inspiration for continuing to compete in the sport I love so much.