Cancer Awareness: Athletes share their cancer stories

College athletes’ lives are typically filled with classes, studying, practice, and workouts, which leaves little time for a life outside of sports. But for most athletes family comes first, especially during times of need.

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month, and to some athletes it hits a little closer to home. Pierce College is home to 242 athletes and 20 have had a family member that’s faced some form of cancer.

This year more than 220,000 women will be diagnosed with breast cancer and more than 40,000 are estimated to die from the disease, according to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, Inc.

Trey Dunkelberger, Robert Fowlkes, and Marissa Albano are just three of those athletes.

Dunkelberger plays tight end for the Pierce football team. About three weeks ago, he lost his grandmother to breast cancer after a 14-year fight. Fowlkes plays running back and his mother is currently fighting a rare form of cancer that’s developed around her spine, which has caused her to lose mobility.

Albano is a freshman midfielder for the soccer team. Her mother was diagnosed in 2012 with breast cancer and was declared cancer-free on Sept. 8 of this year.

But these three players aren’t the only athletes that have had someone close to them battle for their lives.


Nine players who have closely dealt with cancer. Nieko Williams’ has two aunts that have faced cancer, his aunt Charmaine lost her battle against brain cancer and his Aunt Lashon is in remission from breast cancer. Wendell O’Brien’s aunt Gloria recently lost her fight with breast cancer. Marcus Mays’ aunt died from breast cancer in 2004. Jonathon Robinson’s grandmother had leukemia and died after catching pneumonia. Nik Fields’ mother won her fight against breast cancer. Josiah Torres’ grandmother lost her fight with breast cancer and Dillon King’s mom had skin cancer.

Men’s basketball: JR Williams’ mom is currently fighting colon cancer.

Women’s volleyball: Mika Fabbro’s grandfather had brain cancer and her best friend also has brain cancer. Kirsten Cabarong’s grandfather had lung cancer, her uncle had kidney and lung cancer, and another uncle had Leukemia. Montana Shepard’s grandmother had lung cancer and her uncle had colon cancer. Callie Kruse’s aunt had breast cancer and survived. Serena Snaer’s mom had Leukemia and her grandma had breast cancer. Leanna Schott’s grandfather had pancreatic cancer and her grandmother had breast cancer. Chelsea Lawrence’s uncle had stomach cancer. Both of Rachel Lods’ grandfathers had cancer, one had Luekemia and the other had lung cancer.

Women’s Volleyball Dig for Pink game will be Friday, Oct. 31 in the South Gym.

Football’s cancer awareness night will be Saturday, Nov. 1 at John Shepard Stadium.