Kenton Ridge, Northwestern honor cancer victim

Northwestern volleyball coach Rebecca Macy may have had some reservations about moving her young family from sunny Arizona to Springfield 10 years ago, but her enthusiasm for her new hometown spiked after meeting Becky Smith.

The two played in a mixed volleyball league at First Christian Church that was more fun than competitive and hit it off right away.

“I wanted to stay in Springfield because of her,” said Macy, the mother of four and wife of physician Kevin Macy.

“To know her was to love her — and to be loved BY her.”

Smith, who died March 12 at age 50 after a decade-long battle with breast cancer, left many others feeling that same warmth and affection. That’s why a crowd of about 300 showed up for a volleyball match Tuesday between Northwestern and Kenton Ridge, most of them wearing pink “Bump for Becky” T-shirts — including both squads.

Macy and KR coach Angie Arthur, who also was a close friend, wanted to honor the former hospice nurse by turning their match into something more than just a meeting between Central Buckeye Conference rivals.

They sold 425 T-shirts, had a bake sale and collected items from businesses and the community for a silent auction. The Warriors also staged a “serve-a-thon,” gathering donations based on how many successful serves they could produce in 100 tries. One player connected on all 100.

The event raised about $8,000, which was donated to the Springfield Regional Cancer Center.

Bob Smith, Becky’s husband and a Springfield firefighter, and daughters Adelyn and Allex, both Northwestern students, were touched by the show of support.

“I didn’t know what to expect — wow,” Bob said while taking in the scene.

“We’re privileged to be able to participate in this to raise a few dollars for families that are in treatment now. We want to provide a little relief for them as well.”

The couple met while attending Wright State and was married 20 years. And Becky’s deep faith impacted her husband and kids.

“She loved people, and she loved her family,” the former Alter High School basketball player said while fighting back tears. “You never really get over this. She was a people person, loved her job and loved serving others. She’s missed every day.”

Arthur had wanted to turn a match into a fundraiser in Smith’s honor, but the timing wasn’t right until Macy left her coaching job at West Liberty-Salem to take over at Northwestern this season.

Both teams worked together all day to set up for the event, making the match almost seem like an afterthought.

KR (14-3, 8-0 CBC) swept NW (6-10, 2-6) in straight sets, 3-0.

“This was a no-brainer,” Northwestern athletic director Jeff Hobby said. “Cancer touches so many people. My wife is a cancer survivor. I’m a cancer survivor. And I’ve got a 7-year-old grandson fighting cancer right now.

“It’s unfortunate those young girls have to grow up without their mom, but they’re troopers. They’re living her legacy out right now.”

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