Kelli Howard Smith '95

Raising money and awareness of breast cancer has become a personal mission for head varsity softball coach, Kelli Howard Smith '95

Raising money and awareness of breast cancer has become a personal mission for head varsity softball coach, Kelli Howard Smith '95 (pictured far left), who has rallied her state champion softball team to fight for more than trophies and titles.

It all began several years ago when softball standout Kaitlyn Phillips '10 arrived in ninth grade, and the team became aware that her mother, Dinkle McAdams, had been diagnosed with breast cancer. Smith began organizing a group to participate in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure that fall. McAdams died before Kaitlyn graduated.

Then Kelly Moore, mother of player Sarah Moore '13, was diagnosed with the disease 14 months ago. To show their support, the team's motto this past season was, "State champions on the field, fighting for Moore off the field."

"They wanted to help their friend who is going through something like this. In talking with Kelli we learned that there are chemo patients at Erlanger who don't have gas money and others who have to take cabs or use public transportation," said Smith.

In March, the team hosted neighboring Red Bank High School in a "Hits for Hope" fundraising game for breast cancer awareness. The game's proceeds from donations, pledges for dollars per hit, and concessions raised more than $3,500. Smith has arranged for the money to go to social workers in the Erlanger cancer unit who will assist local breast cancer patients with expenses, such as transportation and gasoline vouchers.

"We have just decided that, for whatever reason, it has become very personal to us as a softball family. The girls feel good about what they are doing, and I am able to constantly remind them as young females, this is just something we have to be aware of."