Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Sacred Heart softball strikes out cancer for Heart family member

Sacred Heart softball -- with Megan Budd Drewry front and center -- display their banner
of Coaches vs. Cancer cards before Tuesday's game.
Cancer is a scourge with far-reaching tentacles.
Too many people know someone who has been affected by it.
What is also far-reaching, however, is the support of family, friends and caregivers of those who have cancer.
Drewry throws out the ceremonial first pitch.
Megan Budd Drewry has one heck of a team in her corner. Cancer has arrived in Drewry's life for the second time. The first was bone cancer when she was a freshman at Sacred Heart High School. That cancer cost her the ability to run.
This time around, it's breast cancer, and Drewry is not alone. Twelve percent of breast cancer diagnoses come at 40 years of age or younger. Drewry, a 1996 graduate of Sacred Heart, is 38.
Cancer is a horrible thing, but it manages to bring out the best in people. That was on full display on a chilly Tuesday afternoon at Municipal Stadium. Sacred Heart softball was hosting its second annual pink game, and Drewry was the reluctant honored guest. She threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Drewry doesn't like the spotlight on her, but all the love she got Tuesday, and since her cancer diagnosis went public, has been appreciated.
"The outpouring has been amazing," Drewry said.
After beating cancer the first time, Drewry went on to become a teacher, a wife and mother to four-year-old daughter Ainsley. Drewry recently found a lump and was diagnosed with breast cancer a little over a month ago.
Drewry could appreciate what the Sacred Heart players had done.
"When kids are involved in something like this, it is very important," Drewry said.
Lifelong friends Drewry and Molly Blake (left of center) pose for a photo.
Drewry is holding Ainsley, her four-year-old daughter.
Sacred Heart softball head coach Molly Blake has been through it with Drewry on both occasions. The two grew up across the street from each other. Blake, who was in eighth grade when Drewry was a freshman, made trips to Yale to visit her friend while she underwent treatments.
"She was strong, she fought through it, and here she is again," Blake said.
Drewry was the first close person Blake knew who had cancer. When Blake and friends found out about Drewry's first diagnosis, it was hard to take.
"It was just very, very scary," Blake said.
Drewry had felt pain in her leg, and a visit to the orthopedist eventually led to a trip to Yale and the cancer diagnosis. Drewry wears a leg brace to walk because of the surgery that was performed to remove the tumor.
Sacred Heart softball senior captain Emily Galvao knew the importance of what went on Tuesday.
"It's a nice way to recognize someone who is overcoming what she is going through," Galvao said.
Sacred Heart softball players sold Coaches vs. Cancer cards, which were proudly displayed on a wide banner. Cancer puts things into perspective.
"Every single day, every game, every test, this just inspires me to be strong," Galvao said.
Drewry's four-year-old daughter fuels her fight.
"That alone makes it harder, but it makes me want to fight harder," Drewry said.
There is a long journey of chemotherapy and a double mastectomy ahead for Drewry, but she plans on fighting. Blake and Sacred Heart will be there for Drewry, like they were the first time cancer came around.
Donning pink T-shirts emblazoned with the phrase "HEARTS STRIKE OUT CANCER", Blake and her softball team were there for Drewry on Tuesday. They always will be, because cancer brings out the best in people.

PHOTOS: Click here to see the pregame images.

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