Friday, February 01, 2008

UNH Student-Athlete Loses Fight With Rare Cancer

This is several days late, but a sad story from the alma mater:

When Holly Young came to the University of New Hampshire in 2004, she was poised to become one of the Wildcat's best young athletes. A life-long competitor, Young was armed with a tremendous vertical leap, a thunderous kill and a confident serve.

In 2003, after she led her Coastal Volleyball Club team to the Bay State Games Championship and received All-Scholastic awards from The Boston Globe and The Boston Herald, Young was recruited to play outside hitter and setter on Coach Jill Hirschinger's two-time defending America East championship Wildcats. She redshirted her first season on the team to gain experience with her new team.

It was only after that season, while seeking medical advice about a lump that had appeared on her right leg, that Young was diagnosed with Ewing's sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer. Since then, Holly had become a different kind of competitor, one who championed causes off of the court.

Last Thursday, Jan. 26, Holly Young lost her three-year battle with cancer. She was 22.

The rest of the article is definitely worth a read. Holly Young sounds like a remarkable young woman who made the most of her limited time on earth by helping as many people and as many causes as she could.

The thing that struck me about Young's case was the infrequency with which Ewing's sarcoma strikes:
The Ewing's Family of Tumors (EFOT), which includes Ewing's sarcoma, are rare forms of childhood cancer that, according to the America Cancer Society, are diagnosed in about 250 children and adolescents in the United States each year. Statistically, it accounts for 2 to 3 percent of the childhood cancers diagnosed each year.

In a letter calling for more research on the disease, Mr. Young described the rarity of the cancer as such, "Consider filling Michigan Stadium three times with children and adolescents under the age of 21. Now pick one and say 'You have Ewing's sarcoma.' That is the national statistic."

Complicating matters is the fact that a significant percentage of cases, including Young's, have appeared within a relatively small area on Cape Cod.

UNH Volleyball Player Loses Battle With Cancer (The New Hampshire)