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St. Anthony libero Elizabeth Kabbes (left) and mother Tessie (right) hug at St. Anthony High School on Wednesday, September 1, 2021.

Sports can take a backseat in some instances, with Tuesday’s volleyball match between Effingham and St. Anthony being one of them.

The Bulldogs came away with a three-set victory, but in the end, both teams won, as they raised money and awareness for cancer in the annual “Pink Out” Night.

Even though breast cancer was at the forefront of the night, the evening didn’t shy away from the other forms of cancer that are also affecting people.

Tessie Kabbes, the mother of St. Anthony starting libero Elizabeth Kabbes, is one person who didn’t have breast cancer but dealt with the struggles of another form of it when Elizabeth was younger. She had Stage 2 colon cancer.

“When she had it, the family was pretty down. They thought it was Stage 4 colon cancer, so everyone didn’t have high hopes,” Elizabeth said. “Then she got over it. It was a blessing from God.”

Knowing all that her mother went through made Tuesday that much more meaningful for Elizabeth, as well.

“Each shirt, the money raised went toward cancer awareness, and our fan section was awesome,” Elizabeth said. “All the pink they wore, and I had some guy wearing my ‘Off-the-Shoulder’ shirt, and he was wearing it like a champ. I think that they all got into it, and I think it’s cool to see everyone coming together to support a cause.”

This particular game also brought back a fond memory for Tessie Kabbes.

Tessie said she remembers a moment from a “Pink Out” Night between St. Anthony and Windsor (Stewardson-Strasburg) that left her emotional.

“I remember a couple of years ago, I was in the crowd, and one of the Stew-Stras players came over and gave me a rose because I had to stand up, being a cancer survivor,” Tessie said. “That touched me because it’s one thing for your daughter or team members to give you something, but for the other team to come over, that was a powerful experience.”

However, Tessi and Elizabeth Kabbes weren’t the only two to reflect on what “Pink Out” Night truly means.

Effingham players also weighed in.

Kennedy Sowell and Lexi Chrappa, both seniors for the Flaming Hearts, understand the importance of giving back, as both individuals have lost someone to cancer.

Sowell said that her great-grandfather passed away from cancer, which ultimately decided her major of choice.

“It started in his bones and then spread through his body,” Sowell said. “That’s one of the reasons why I’m going into nursing.”

As for Chrappa, she does something different in remembrance of her grandmother.

To honor her, Chrappa said that she made bows for her teammates while donning a ribbon on her shoes and a patch on her senior jeans for football games.

“’Pink Out’ Night means a lot to me because my grandma, unfortunately, passed away from breast cancer when I was seven years old,” Chrappa said. “That impacted me, and she was a big person in my life. Anytime we do a ‘Pink Out’ night, I try to do [something different]. It’s a really big deal to me, and it’s close to my heart.”

Among the others commenting were junior Ali Davis and sisters Riley and Abby Cunningham. Davis said her aunt passed away from breast cancer when she was in fifth grade, while the Cunningham sisters said their father also battled cancer. He is still surviving today.

Contact EDN Sports Editor Alex Wallner at 217-347-7151 ext. 124 or alex.wallner@effinghamdailynews.com

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