USF softball player Meredith Bissette battling cancer
As astounding as the Bulls softball team's recent 23-game win streak may have seemed, it's got nothing on the Bulls' current five-game victory string.
They've won all five beneath the grim cloud of a cancer diagnosis.
The school announced Wednesday that reserve INF Meredith Bissette, who has played 32 games over the last two seasons, recently got the diagnosis and has returned to her family in North Carolina. She'll soon begin extensive radiation treatment in Boston.
"Obviously, everyone was stunned by Meredith’s diagnoses and the battle she is now facing," USF coach Ken Eriksen said in a school news release.
"The way she has handled everything has really been inspirational to her teammates, her coaches and everyone she touches. She has been unwavering and so positive in facing this challenge. Her teammates and coaches love her and miss her, and we will do everything we can to support her in this fight."
According to a GoFundMe.com page already set up for her, Bissette has chordoma cancer, a type that occurs in the bones of the head and spine in people of all ages. According to chordomafoundation.org, the median survival for chordoma patients in the United States is approximately seven years.
The overall 5-, 10-, and 20-year survival rates are 68 percent, 40 percent, and 13 percent, respectively, the site says.
"I want to thank everyone for the huge support I have received from friends, family, my entire USF family, the softball community, and supporters through social media,” Bissette said in the news release. “I feel like I have the confidence to overpower this cancer and it is thanks to y’all.
"I am staying positive, happy and confident through this whole ordeal. I know I will beat this cancer, and that it is just a small bump in the road. I will be back better and stronger than ever after completing my treatment over the summer. I plan to be back at USF kicking and screaming again come fall."
The softball program will host a fundraiser for the Bissette family on Sunday, May 8 at the softball stadium. The event will include a home run derby featuring USF student-athletes at 4:30, following the USF baseball game against Tulane.
Supporters can donate money for each home run hit during the derby, or by making a set donation for the event. There will also be a silent auction of donated items from the national softball community.
Additionally, donations can be made to the GoFundMe.com page. Those wishing to give more than $500 are encouraged to contact Eriksen directly at Eriksen@usf.edu.