Last Saturday night, volleyball fans, former players, friends, and family came from near and far to celebrate Emily. The festivities started at 5:30 in the sauna that is more commonly known as Ducey Gymnasium (seriously, in the history of the gym’s existence the temperature has never dropped below 93 degrees). There were delicious homemade desserts for sale along with awesome “Fight Like a Girl” wristbands and t-shirts. Not only did most of the crowd end up sporting one these shirts in Emily’s honor, but so did the entire Cal Lu volleyball team. The CMS Athenas also wore special warm-ups emblazoned with “EmBen #11” on the back.
The Athenas put up a strong effort but the nationally ranked Cal Lu Regals came away victorious. Some of the crowd even got in on the volleyball action by participating in a half time serving competition. There was no single champion from the serving competition, but when 20+ people are serving at the same time with balls flying everywhere and only one person gets hit in the head (that I saw), that is a victory in itself.
All in all, the night was a huge success raising $4,000 to help cover Emily’s medical expenses. The Cal Lu community was so kind and generous as they rallied to support one of CMS’ own. Ten women who played with Emily during her time at CMS returned for the evening to sit in the stands with her and cheer on the new generation of Athenas. Countless other friends made the trek to Claremont from all across Northern and Southern California as well. The fun isn’t over yet, though. This weekend there are six more Dig Deep, Beat Cancer volleyball matches being played throughout the SCIAC conference to raise awareness about lung cancer and Emily’s fight.
Thanks so much to everyone who came out last weekend with bright smiles and big spirit. The night would not have been as memorable without you. There are a few folks that deserve special recognition for being extra awesome, however. A super BIG thank you goes out to:
John Brankse & Buddy’s All-Stars, Inc. for donating the Fight Like a Girl t-shirts
Wright Design for donating the EmBen #11 warm up shirts
Kelli Smith for making all of the delicious desserts
Heather Semelmacher and Kyra Ray for handling the sales of all those t-shirts and bracelets
Darby Anderson & Jill’s Legacy for supporting and promoting the event from afar and sending all of the great swag to help raise awareness for Emily, Jill, and everyone battling lung cancer
Michael Preston for his exceptional emceeing of the entire night
Emily Scalmanini and Erin Graves for running their little own table where people could color or write message to Emily
Mike Haas for his ongoing support and generosity towards all things related to Athena Volleyball
Kellie Roesel for being willing to switch her own team’s schedule around to accommodate this event and jumping on board to support Emily 110%
Kurt Vlasich for rallying the SCIAC teams to Emily’s cause and working so hard on the logistics and all of the little details to make the night so great
Diana Graves for first envisioning this event to support and honor Emily so many months ago, and working tirelessly to bring it to fruition. Also, for being such a dedicated friend and coach to so many lucky Athenas over the years 🙂
While in college, Miles and his best buddy Josh worked as the official ball boys for CMS Volleyball. They wore matching volleyball “Game Day” t-shirts, complete with festive and/or themed accessories that changed weekly. These #1 and #2 Athena fans made sure that every player always had a volleyball in hand when needed, and they could be counted on for the highest fives (literally) after every game. Word on the street is that this spirited and dynamic ball shagging duo might be making an on court appearance at the Dig Deep, Beat Cancer event tomorrow – OMG WHAT?!?! Yes, we can only keep our fingers crossed and hope. Miles, Josh, and our beloved Emily will all be in Claremont to support the Athenas and Regals who have joined Emily’s fight against lung cancer. It would be oh so nice to see you there too 🙂
First and foremost, the Claremont community is about connections and the family that you build. Even though we never had the opportunity to take the court with Emily, she is a fellow Athena and that makes her important to us. She made a huge contribution to Athena volleyball and was a big part of our success during the 2002 – 2006 years. When one Athena is hurting, it affects us all. We are all a part of this fight and are committed to doing as much as possible to help Emily’s cause. We stand behind Emily, Miles, and their families every step of the way. This “Dig Deep, Beat Cancer” event goes to show how strong the CMS and broader Claremont communities are, and just how dedicated the Claremont family is to helping Emily beat lung cancer, big time.
-Katrina Lau, CMS Athena, Class of 2013
The entire CMS Athena volleyball squad is looking forward to seeing YOU at the game this Saturday as they dig deep to beat cancer.
We are now just two short weeks away from the SCIAC “Dig Deep, Beat Cancer” event honoring our one and only Emily. On Saturday, October 20th the CMS Athenas will take on the Cal Lutheran Regals in a heated volleyball match. There will also be fun activities, awesome swag, and great company for everyone in attendance. For more information check out the new Dig Deep, Beat Cancer tab on the EmBen blog. You can also RSVP to this great event on Facebook. Tell all of your friends – we’re going to pack Ducey Gym to the max and help Emily beat lung cancer, big time!
To help get you in the spirit for the night, here are some clips compiled by our dear friend Stevie-G back from when Emily was a senior at CMS. Enjoy!
Ashley Fricks-Gleason was two years ahead of Emily in college but their paths crossed as fellow members of the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) athletic family. Ashley played on the CMS softball team and was also a CMS athletic trainer who would help Emily prep for practices and games. Earlier this month, Ashley made an incredible gesture in support of Emily. While the 1,347+ times that Ashley taped Emily’s ankles for volleyball in college offered substantial physical support, her most recent gesture bolstered Emily’s spirits beyond measure.
Ashley (in red) and her friend and husband spelling out C-M-S just for Emily
On August 4th Ashley took part in the “Survivors at the Summit” event held at the Snowbird Mountain Resort in Utah. This was the 16th year of the event benefiting the Cancer Wellness House, a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free resources to anyone whose life has been affected by cancer. One facet of the event is the “Hidden Peak Celebration of Life” where anyone living with a history of cancer, their friends and families, and those who have lost a friend or relative to cancer are invited to hike the trail up to Hidden Peak. Ashley hiked 4.5 miles from the base of Snowbird to the top of Hidden Peak (11,000 feet) where she hung a prayer flag at the summit honoring Emily and her current fight against lung cancer.
Prayer Flags at the top of Hidden Peak
Emily’s bright yellow flag will remain on top of the mountain flying amongst the flags of hundreds of other incredible people whose lives have been touched by cancer. Ashley also sent Emily the official event t-shirt emblazoned (in perfect CMS colors!) with the motto Stronger Than Cancer. There is no doubt that with the incredible array of support that Emily has received from Ashley and countless others, combined with her top notch clinical team and treatment regimen, and her own mental strength and endurance, Emily is 100% stronger than cancer.
Not so very long ago Emily was a star player on the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (CMS) volleyball team. CMS is a member of the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) which named Emily ‘Rookie of the Year’ her freshman season and then to the All-SCIAC conference team every season after that.
It’s a SCIAC tradition that one week each season all of the volleyball teams put aside their rivalries and work together to raise money for cancer research. Yesterday, the conference coaches voted unanimously to dedicate this year’s special effort to Emily’s fight against lung cancer. On October 27th, teams across the conference will join forces to support Emily and to celebrate people across the world battling cancer. As one coach laughingly put it, “That left hand of hers caused us a lot of problems…we’re in!” All proceeds will go to the EmBen Kicks Cancer fund.
The CMS Athenas will be away at Occidental College that night, so CMS will also host its own event on Saturday, October 20th. CMS invites you to join Athenas Volleyball and Stags Basketball athletes, past and present, as we support Emily and Miles in a true show of teamwork and solidarity. Please mark your calendars for a 6PM showdown with nationally ranked Cal Lutheran University on October 20th at Ducey Gym, followed by a dessert reception and other fun shenanigans. Stay tuned for additional details..