UL women’s basketball coach Garry Brodhead can’t wait until Saturday.
Sure, he’s fired up about the prospects of his Ragin’ Cajuns squad taking a big step forward in the Sun Belt Conference race with Texas State in town for a 2 p.m. game.
After all, his Cajuns currently stand in ninth place with a 5-8 league record. His goal is to get into the sixth or seventh spot over the final five games of the regular season and Texas State (6-7) currently holds the No. 7 seed.
Truth be told, however, that’s not the biggest reason Brodhead is counting the minutes to Saturday.
There’s a much more significant reason than that.
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On Sept. 10, 2015, breast cancer claimed the life of his wife Andrea. Since then, Brodhead has actively joined the fight against cancer.
The next step in his battle will be spearheading the inaugural 2019 Cancer Walk, sponsored by the Andrea Brodhead Foundation, on Saturday at the Cajundome.
“It kind of reminds me of what we’re supposed to do,” Brodhead said. “On Saturday, I wanted to have a game, but really what I want is 10,000 people fighting cancer. That would be my goal.
“This will be the first year we do a walk. My wife gave a lot to basketball, especially on the girls side with Biddy basketball, so I just want people to come out and walk and support her.”
Brodhead said he got the idea after taking part in the highly successful Ethel Precht Cancer Walk in Lake Charles.
Registration for the walk is at 8:30 a.m. at the Cajundome. Cancer survivors get free admission to the walk. The public must give a $10 donation with all proceeds going to the Andrea Brodhead Foundation.
“We’re providing a scholarship for someone from Acadiana who either has cancer or their family is fighting cancer, so they can continue their education and be apart of our family,” Brodhead explained.
Anyone who registers will be allowed to participate in the team’s shoot-around at 9 a.m.
The walk will begin at 10:30 a.m. at the Cajundome.
UL-Lafayette baseball coach Tony Robichaux calls it "The Invisible Climb."
All those who register will get a free t-shirt, which will grant you free admission into the 2 p.m. game against Texas State. Survivors will be guest coaches on the bench.
“It’s not (hard to play after walk), because it’s a passion,” Brodhead said. “It’s so easy to play in those kind of games because the players. (Athletic director) Dr. (Bryan) Maggard’s been in our locker room last year with cancer survivors. There’s so much energy in there. They’re fighting their fight and we’re getting ready to go play. And we’re getting ready to go play for somebody. Most of the players will have somebody’s name on their back that they’re playing for.”
Brodhead explained his zeal in fighting cancer is as high as ever.
“My wife has passed, but she’s still making a difference in a lot of other people’s lives,” he explained. “She was put in a trial program. We were asked we after she passed if they could continue with some of her cancer. Two weeks ago, one of the things we found out was the mutations that she had were very, very aggressive. It was something they had never known about. They weren’t sure about how to treat that specific type of breast cancer. And I think it’s going to save lives.”
Brodhead said current UL player Diamond Morrison’s mother is also fighting cancer.
“She’s such a great kid,” he said. “We all love her. It’s hard for her to be away from her mom. She really didn’t want to come because her mom was sick. She wanted to stay home. Her mom said, ‘No, you’ve got to go to start your career and start your education.’ So her mom’s a strong lady. She’s very blessed to have a mother like that.
"She’s part of our family. We’re fighting with her and we’re going to continue to fight with her."