Together for Terry
This column is for Terry Vaught, a 49-year old husband, father and lifetime member of his community in the Central New York area-- he has begun his journey to beating cancer.
I knew there would come a time where I could put my writing to good use.
Today is the day. This column is it.
I've been lucky enough to have a sounding board for my rants, a place to highlight student-athletes and coaches and hone my interviewing skills while covering high school and collegiate sports in the Erie Reader (Erie, PA) and Eagle-Star Review (Syracuse, N.Y.).
And with that, I say thank you to managing editor Ben Speggen and sports editor Phil Blackwell.
Journalists are encouraged to think outside of the box, to go with an unoriginal idea and make it work. Although this type of angle has been used before, it's unchartered territory for me.
I first met Nancy Vaught in the spring of last year. She was the first person I saw when I entered Syracuse University's admissions office. After months of begging and pleading from my fiancé, Wes, asking me to come in a meet his colleagues, I caved. Instead of going home after my doctor's appointment that day, I made a detour.
Nancy and I talked for a bit until other people trickled in and out of their offices, saying hi and introducing themselves. After walking the Syracuse campus, many student tour guides congregate near Nancy's work space. As the admission's secretary, she is a critical lifeline to how the office ticks on a day-to-day basis.
A lot has changed since then.
Nancy's husband, Terry was diagnosed with an advanced stage of colon and liver cancer last August.
Since then, he has had the surgeries to remove the cancer and is currently undergoing the grueling chemotherapy treatments, scheduled to be completed this summer.
This past winter my high school alma mater, Westhill, girl's varsity basketball team hosted the Cobras of Bishop Grimes. Nancy's daughter, Jordan was the starting point guard while Terry was not too far removed from courtside as Bishop Grimes' assistant coach.
Wes and I sat with Nancy throughout the game, cheering and rooting for Jordan. Although the Cobras were outmatched that night by the Warriors' lethal three-point shooting, Terry's vigor and passion for the game of basketball was evident-- it was beaming. Whatever he may have been going through with the illness was not.
Basketball is commonplace within the Vaught household. Zach, their oldest and a sophomore at Syracuse University, is the manager on the successful men's basketball team.
Jordan devotes her summers to the Unity Wildcats (Syracuse), an AAU basketball team that travels and competes in several tournaments.
This Saturday, May 14 from 5-9 p.m. at Bishop Grimes High School in East Syracuse, a fundraiser will be held for Terry to help the family deal with some of the unforeseen medical costs outside of insurance they will have to deal within the coming months and potentially years.
For donations or to volunteer, please call:
Trish Dalfo at (315) 382-3760
Trish Maroney at (315) 436-2228
Or Jamie Evans at (315) 439-4873
For all cash and/or check donations, please make out to:
"The Vaught Family Support Fund"
c/o Jamie Evans
8094 Ashery Lane
Cicero, N.Y. 13039
If you are a regular reader to either one of these two online newspapers, chances are someone close to you, a family member or close friend, has been affected or, like Terry, is going through the stages of eradicating this disease.
As the saying goes, every little bit helps.