Teen Basketball Star Honored for Brave Battle Against Cancer

Golisano Children’s Hospital patient awarded at annual sportswomen’s luncheon

April 21, 2008

Earlier today, Golisano Children’s Hospital’s teen cancer survivor Rachel Kanouse  was honored for her competitor’s spirit – both on and off the court – at the 30th anniversary WHAM Sportswomen of the Year Awards Luncheon.

The event, which began at  11:45 a.m. at Rochester’s Clarion Riverside Hotel, 120 E. Main St., was hosted by WHAM to benefit The Heart of Gold Children’s Foundation and credits oustanding female athletes, including those who have overcome a major medical obstacle. Kanouse, now 18, was presented  the Heart of Gold Award for her bravery while  fighting  a battle with ovarian cancer that began in June 2006.

While treating Kanouse for a softball injury, her doctors ran a battery of tests and discovered she had tumors on her ovary; one week later, doctors at Golisano Children’s Hospital operated to remove her ovaries and appendix. That August, Kanouse began three rounds of intensive chemotherapy treatments that left her weak and bald. Her spirit and drive to survive, however, never diminished and in early October chemotherapy ended and she was in remission.

“I never would’ve gotten through it without my family and friends,” said Kanouse, who currently returns to the hospital every 90 days for follow-up testing to ensure that the tumors haven’t returned.

Today, the Dalton native lives her life like a normal high school senior: shopping, having fun with her friends and playing basketball for Section 5 Class C champions, the Keshequa Indians. In June, she will graduate from high school as salutatorian and will begin preparing to attend the University at Buffalo to study medicine.

Kanouse’s basketball coaches and teammates  were also  given a Heart of Gold Award for money raised for Coaches vs. Cancer, a nationwide collaboration between the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) to fight the disease. In the last two years, the team raised over $16,000.

This year’s Sportswoman of the Year Awards Luncheon featured NASA astronaut Pam Melroy as the keynote speaker. Other awards  were presented to high school and college athletes and coaches.   Net proceeds from the event will go to The Heart of Gold Foundation. To make a donation or for more information, please contact Dan Guilfoyle at (585) 279-5367.

Kanouse, now 18, was presented the Heart of Gold Award for her bravery while fighting a battle with ovarian cancer that began in June 2006.

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