Alexis Mills had no idea that her daughter’s volleyball program was honoring her for her battle against breast cancer
It is not easy keeping a secret in a small town.
Alexis Mills, though, had no idea.
She found it odd, however, when her daughter Kylee asked her weeks ago if she would be attending her volleyball match on Oct. 10.
“I’m at all of your (home) games,” Alexis said, befuddled.
Weird question, right?
It turns out, Alexis Mills was the guest of honor Tuesday night at La Center High School.
And she had no idea until she arrived at the gym, just before the JV volleyball match started.
The players, including Kylee, were wearing pink shirts.
On the front: Together We Fight.
On the back, oh, that’s going to do it: “#AlexisStrong”
“I started to get emotional,” Alexis said. “Oh, this is going to be National Make Alexis Cry Day.”
Wildcat Nation was crying tears of triumph.
It was Pink Night, a night that many teams in different seasons, different sports have throughout Clark County as a way to raise money for cancer research and early screening education.
At La Center volleyball this year, Pink Night struck closer to home. We shared the story of Kylee, now a freshman, this summer when she was named Miss Teen La Center. Kylee’s inspiration is her mom, battling breast cancer. Alexis had just recently finished chemotherapy treatment.
Since our story on Kylee and Alexis posted, Alexis has undergone a bilateral mastectomy. She has two more surgeries to complete reconstruction.
As far as the cancer:
“I’m just waiting for the all-clear from my doctors,” Alexis said, always positive.
She is looking forward to hearing the words “Pathological complete response to the chemotherapy treatment.”
So she is still battling, and she looks forward to the day she can call herself a survivor. But Pink Night is also for family members of those who did not survive. It is for all who have been touched by cancer.
Alexis saw those shirts and the Alexis Strong hashtag, and then she noticed more and more family members were making their way to the gym.
Her brother and his girlfriend showed up. Her mother-in-law was there, and she brought her son and his wife, Kimberly Rimkus, who was diagnosed with cancer a week before Alexis got her diagnosis.
After the JV match and the warmup for the varsity teams, there was another special announcement. The Wildcats were there to honor one of their own, as one of the players in the program — Kylee — has a mom currently battling breast cancer.
Kylee went into the stands to bring her mom out to the court. The players had roses for Alexis.
“I don’t love being the center of attention,” Alexis said. “It was really special, and not just because of what I’m going through.”
Alexis said she was touched when organizers asked for any cancer survivors or anyone currently battling cancer to stand up to be recognized. Several in the gym stood. They all received flowers from the players, as well.
Through that small sample size, Alexis came to a sobering realization: Pretty much everyone knows at least one person who has battled cancer, is a survivor, or succumbed to cancer.
“It was mind boggling,” Alexis said.
Organizers also passed a bucket around, looking for donations for the Pink Lemonade Project, which educates, empowers, and supports communities affected by breast cancer.
The La Center High School Booster Club voted to match whatever was raised.
Wait a minute. Alexis Mills is a member of that booster club. She didn’t remember voting on this issue.
That’s right, this night was a surprise. The booster club had to keep Alexis out of the loop.
“They had been planning the whole Pink Night around me,” Alexis said. “My daughter, who is very open, has a hard time keeping things from me. She did an amazing job keeping this from me.”
There was that one clue, that odd question weeks ago about attending Kylee’s match on Oct. 10.
Alexis is at all the home matches.
Alexis and her husband Greg plan on being there for all of Kylee’s events throughout high school, and again with their son Brody, who is a couple years younger than Kylee.
Alexis Mills is waiting for the all-clear, but she already has big plans for her and her family’s future.
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