SOUTH ABINGTON TWP. — During the week of Jan. 27, the Summit University of Pennsylvania men’s and women’s basketball teams used competition on the court to rally around former Lady Defender, Lexi Thomas, in her fight against cancer.
Defender Athletics is participating in the American Cancer Society’s Coaches vs. Cancer program to raise funds for the accruing expenses of Thomas’ treatments. The Coaches vs. Cancer program empowers coaches, their teams and communities to join the fight against cancer by participating in awareness efforts, advocacy programs and fundraising activities.
Thomas transferred to Summit University in 2011. She became part of the Lady Defender basketball family and cultivated deep friendships that would support her during challenges to come.
In the summer of 2012, Thomas’ health took an unexpected turn. After going through many tests, the doctors diagnosed her with Hypereosinophilia, a rare blood disorder that causes an elevated blood eosinophil count. It was the beginning of a journey filled with challenges. Her plan to return to college was cut off due to long periods of hospitalization. Since then, she has gone through chemotherapy, a bone marrow transplant, dialysis and new treatments that no human has gone through before to battle this rare form of cancer.
Thomas publishes a blog called “lexthomas11,” at Lexthomas11.wordpress.com, to share her experiences. The blog, fueled by her hope in Christ, caught the eye of the National Cancer Institute. She is set to have multiple articles published in catalogues distributed to those battling cancer in hospitals, NIH Clinical Center and John’s Hopkins.
Even though Thomas only played one year as a Lady Defender, she has in many ways still been part of the team. They have been by her side supporting her through cards, prayer and visits to the hospital. Thomas has also returned to work at basketball camps and supports the team during the regular season.
The university started raising funds on Jan. 27 through competitions and other events revolving around the home basketball games at the Phelps Student Center.
Information provided by Summit University of Pennsylvania.