Arlington's Coaches vs. Cancer raises awareness, support for American Cancer Society | SLIDESHOW

ARLINGTON — Although they were edged out 64-57 by Stanwood on the evening of Friday, Feb. 3, the Arlington High School boys basketball team came away winners in the ongoing fight against cancer, as they helped raise $1,254 for the American Cancer Society through the “Coaches vs. Cancer” game that evening.

After the introduction of a host of honorary team coaches for the event, who were either cancer survivors or caregivers to those who have suffered from cancer, the Arlington boys took to the court wearing light pink T-shirts in honor of the American Cancer Society, and even after they removed those shirts to wear their team jerseys, they kept on the hot pink socks they’d all donned for the cause as well.

For Nick Brown, coach of the AHS boys basketball team, and his wife Caryn, this cause carries a personal significance, although they were quick to emphasize that it’s not just about them. According to Nick Brown, he’d already been looking for ways to “be a better man” when the opportunity to take part in “Coaches vs. Cancer” first came about for Arlington three years ago. What started as an attempt at some selfless charity became, by Nick’s admission, “a bit selfish” in December of 2009, when Caryn was diagnosed with breast cancer.

“I don’t know that I deserve to be labeled a ‘caregiver,’” Nick Brown said. “I’d just call it being a husband.”

“I’ve learned that there’s really no way to prepare for cancer treatment,” said Caryn Brown, who had no family history of cancer, but nonetheless had to undergo surgery as well as chemotherapy and radiation. “Everyone’s body is different, so there is no typical experience. However, one thing I think is true for everyone diagnosed with cancer is they go through a roller-coaster ride of emotion from the time cancer is suspected to the end of the long treatment, and in the weeks and months that follow.”

The Browns expressed gratitude to family, friends, students, school staff and the surrounding community for serving as their support system, and cited such support systems as an essential part of the healing process for all those whose lives have been touched by cancer.

“We consider these young men part of our family,” Caryn Brown said of the AHS boys basketball players. “They’ve been by our side since the moment I received my diagnosis. These boys have seen me bald and sick, and have seen our family struggle as we had to fight our battle. They’ve seen firsthand what someone goes through when fighting cancer, and the ‘Coaches vs. Cancer’ game is a way to bring awareness to the community about the importance of continually fighting this disease.”

“She’s always been close to the team,” Nick Brown said of his wife. “They all look up to her. We got a number of comments from the Stanwood folks who came to check out the game about how good our student body was. These kids care about other people, and so does this community.”


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