High School Basketball Coach Fights Cancer, Refuses to be Sidelined

High above the basketball court at South Grand Prairie High School are the words to its alma mater, which read in part, "May the red and gold bring a Warrior bold to his highest shining hour."

Perhaps no one exemplifies that more than the woman who rules that domain.

"Sometimes we forget that she has cancer because she's so energetic," said Kayla Wells, a junior small forward for the Lady Warriors. "Sometimes, she's more energetic than us."

Lady Warriors Head Coach Sam Morrow was diagnosed with breast cancer last summer and continues to receive treatments for the disease.

"It's the fear of the unknown," said Morrow. "Telling the kids was really hard."

But if you thought chemo or radiation would keep her off the court, then you don't know Coach.

"To me, it was 'let's get this going, let's get this done,'" said Morrow. "Get the tough [chemo] done before school starts because I don't want to miss school. I don't want to miss basketball."

Initially, the news was a devastating blow for her players.

"I cried," said Wells. "We're so close to her. And hearing that somebody that you love has cancer, it hurts you."

But in the months since she told them, it's become their source of strength and motivation.

"Seeing her fight, it shows that we can fight, as well," said Amber Bacon, a sophomore point guard for the Lady Warriors. "We want it more this year."

And to show they have her back, they made the decision to wear pink shoes, pink socks and pink "Sam Strong" bracelets during every game this season -- something Morrow was hesitant at first to let them do.

"I told them 'we're going to talk about my cancer and we're going to talk about what I'm going through and then that's it,'" said Morrow. "I don't want to talk about it again."

But she quickly realized that a lot of people were talking about it and wanted to get behind her -- including the Lady Warriors' opponents.

Several schools have worn pink to show their support. Others have given her gift baskets. And many have helped the Lady Warriors raise money for breast cancer research.

"I get a little teary eyed when I think about that because it's nice and it's genuine," said Morrow. "It's not fake. It's real."

And it's what keeps her fighting -- so that someday soon, she'll get to add another big victory to her resume.

"[Coach Morrow] can beat it," said Bacon. "Yes. Of course."

Morrow hopes that sharing her story will encourage people to support breast cancer research.

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