People across Pike County are teaming up to help one of their own, a longtime coach and community leader, who was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. Her friends, family and students say Dee Hughes is one-of-a-kind, giving her time as a Sunday school teacher and coach to hundreds of kids across the area, and now community members say they want to do something to give back to her."
Dee Hughes, who’s lived in Troy for 25 years since attending Troy University on a softball scholarship, says that’s exactly what she loves about the community. "That's a very overwhelming thing, that so many people are willing to help you, and it's that love that really keeps you going."
Hughes is the volleyball coach at Goshen High school, where she was working when she was diagnosed with breast cancer last September. “It was scary at first, you know, especially the fact of that, I have four children,” she said.
The aggressive cancer required surgery, radiation and chemotherapy. However, Hughes said she had her family’s support the entire time. When she started to lose her hair, her husband, Mike, a Troy police officer, shaved his head too.
Hughes finished her first rounds of treatment in June. After a brief remission, this August, Hughes found another lump in her breast...which will require more treatment. Now the community is pulling together, and holding a lunch benefit in her honor.
“Everybody as a community has really pulled together and just been very strong for her,” said Shelby Jovinson, a senior volleyball player at Goshen High School.
Grant Hughes, Hughes’ 14-year-old son, said his family is committed to each other. “We stick together through the thickest, and we'll be together forever,” he said.
And Dee Hughes says it’s that love and support that’s making all the difference. “It's amazing how much strength you draw from everybody else and you come to realize this is just a roadblock,” she said.
Hughes added that she found both lumps that led to her breast cancer diagnosis. If there’s anything she says she learned, it’s that women should be aware of their bodies and keep track of their health. “It’s so important. Just a few months, it can save your life,” she said.
The lunch/dinner fundraiser for Dee Hughes will be held at Ms. Colleen’s, a restaurant in Troy, beginning at 11 AM, on Saturday, September 22. Attendees have the choice of hamburgers or hotdogs from the event’s start until 3 PM. Barbecue dinners will be served until 8 PM.