“You don’t have the choice that you have cancer,” says UNC Women’s Basketball Coach and leukemia survivor Sylvia Hatchell. “But you have the choice in how you deal with it.”
Inspiring words from UNC women’s basketball coach and cancer survivor Sylvia Hatchell, who spoke at last week’s 10th annual Fast Break Against Cancer. Hosted annually by UNC men’s basketball coach Roy Williams, the live auction breakfast event raised $213,000 for cancer research and treatment at UNC Lineberger.
Almost a year since her leukemia diagnosis in October 2013, Hatchell remarked during the event on her diagnosis, treatment and recovery, sharing photos from throughout her journey.
“I mean, I look back and I’m just like, ‘Wow,’ you know,” Hatchell said. “When I look at that and think that I would have to go through that, I would say there’s just no way. You don’t realize how strong you can be until strong is all you have.”
Hatchell graciously thanked UNC Lineberger and her entire care team, which included among many people, Drs. Peter Voorhees, Thomas Shea, Claudio Battaglini and Physician’s Assistant John Stader. An avid athlete prior to her diagnosis, Hatchell continued to exercise throughout her treatment with Battaglini, an associate professor of exercise and sport science, and cites that physical activity as a significant factor in her recovery.
You don’t realize how strong you can be until strong is all you have.” – Sylvia Hatchell
During her remarks, Hatchell also unveiled an office chair that was passed down to her from Dean Smith, announcing that she will auction off the Caroline blue chair with proceeds benefiting UNC Lineberger.
Williams also gave remarks introducing Coach Hatchell to the Smith Center floor packed with over 400 attendees.
“When you are family and you’re friends with someone that’s close who is fighting this. And when you are friends and colleagues with Sylvia Hatchell, and fighting with her and what’s she gone through with her family, it’s got to make you want to do even more.”
Williams urged the crowd to come together and do “every little thing we can do” to support cancer research. Williams clearly has done much more than a little. Over the past decade, he has raised more than $1.77 million for cancer research, treatment and prevention programs.
Following the close of the silent auction, Coach Williams and Woody Durham kicked off the live auction. Auction items included an opportunity to watch a home men’s basketball game from the team bench, a sleepover in the Smith Center, a Carolina Basketball History package featuring a UNC Basketball Hall of Fame tour led by Woody Durham, and more.
A special thanks to presenting sponsor Atlantic Packaging and to all of our generous sponsors.