Curing cancer one spike at a time

In the fourth grade senior Josie Dusack sat down at the dinner table not expecting news that would affect her entire childhood. This was the day that Dusack discovered that her mother was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I didn’t understand how serious it really was,” Dusack said. “I never saw that death was really an option. I saw it as, ‘Oh my mom is sick. She’ll get better soon.’”

But Charlene Dusack, Josie’s mom, said she thinks that Josie had a more difficult time understanding the implications of her sickness than she realizes.

“Since she was very young she didn’t quite understand how serious the situation was, Charlene said. “However, she did see the impact of my surgeries and chemotherapy.”

With the Dusack family’s experience with the disease, this year’s Volley For a Cure, a volleyball game between Dexter and Chelsea to help raise money for breast cancer research, represented more than just a game to them.

The game, which took place on Oct. 22, saw student sections from both schools pack the stands to watch the game. Dexter swept Chelsea, winning the first three games in a row to win the match. All money raised by Volley for a Cure went to the Michigan Affiliate Susan G. Komen Organization, a non-profit group that raises money to help fight breast cancer.

“I like being able to help raise money to find the cure for breast cancer because that means in the future, other women won’t have to get it,” said Josie, who is a member of the volleyball team. “Also, I have a higher risk of getting it. If helping finding a cure means that I won’t get breast cancer, then my kids and family won’t have to go through what I went through.”

And Charlene is proud of her daughter for participating in an event like this.

“I’m very proud of her passion to help raise money to find a cure so that other women do not have to experience breast cancer,” she said.

For Josie, the opportunity to get her classmates involved in such a personally important cause was one of her favorite parts of the event.

“I think it’s important for the school to help raise money for people who are affected by breast cancer because it shows that everyone else cares and it’s not just the people who are affected by breast cancer that care about it,” Josie said. “The school helps get their students and staff members through it and it’s comforting to know there are people you can go to for help.”

Head volleyball coach Deanna Day agrees.

“I think it’s a great opportunity for the girls to think about something that’s bigger than them,” Day said. “These girls are 18, 17 and 16 years old, and I think Volley for a Cure is a great way for them to start seeing the bigger picture of life.”

With the importance of this game to both Josie and her mother, the feeling of victory after this particular game is something that will stick with Josie for a long time.

“It was the best feeling in the world,” Josie said. “We had already lost to them twice this season so they thought that they had it in the bag, but we came out stronger than ever to win a game that meant so much to me.”