By: Athletic Communications Assistant Dustin Parker
BEREA, Ohio – Cancer.
It is usually not on the short list of childhood worries. For sophomore Isabella Moskowitz (Brighton, Mich.), cancer weaseled its way into her life early on when a close neighborhood friend was diagnosed with brain cancer and passed away at the age of eight.
At the time, Moskowitz was just 12. "Having someone pass away that was so close in age was difficult. No 8-year-old should die," Moskowitz said. "It was hard for me to comprehend at such an age, that's not how life is supposed to work. You're meant to experience life, go to school, make friends, make a family. It really affected me and left me questioning."
That life-altering experience motivated Moskowitz to get into nursing and the health care field, especially pediatric cancer.
"With everything those kids go through, I know how much it can impact their families and friends, and nursing is a way for me to give back" Moskowitz stated.
Moskowitz took that traumatizing childhood experience and started doing anything in her power to help. In her senior year of high school, Moskowitz was in a student-driven leadership class and the students were given free rein to promote a cause of their choosing. Moskowitz and her classmates decided to organize a pink-week for the Bulldogs of Brighton High, which included selling necklaces with paw print pendants, baked goods, a raffle, and a pink run. At the end of the week, the school raised enough money to acquire pink jerseys for all the football players. Each player selected a name for the back of their jersey, someone they wanted to sponsor and support.
"This really exposed me to how much more there is than just participating in such events, but on how to plan and organize them" Moskowitz said.
With resolve, experience and the will to help, Moskowitz has started the Pediatric Cancer Awareness Match for the Baldwin Wallace volleyball program.
When Moskowitz brought this idea to Head Coach Kacie Ehinger last spring, she was more than supportive and willing to help.
"I would love to do this," Ehinger stated, being someone who has also been personally affected by the disease. "This will be a great opportunity for the team and community to get involved."
Apart from the match, Moskowitz spearheaded the organization of the fundraiser. She designed cancer awareness t-shirts and yellow ribbons for people to purchase, reached out to the Cleveland Clinic Children's Hospital, and even partnered with Muskingum University.
"I emailed their coach and they were more than happy to be a part of such a great cause," Moskowitz added. "Even though we're rivals on the court, we can come together to support raising awareness for pediatric cancer." Muskingum wore yellow scrunchies, the color of pediatric cancer and also made signs for the match.
Alongside Ehinger and Muskingum, Moskowitz received help from other Yellow Jackets. Fellow teammates Sydni Colchagoff (Findlay/Liberty-Benton) and Morgan Martin (Seven Hills/Trinity) had their families get involved by donating fleece to make blankets for the children in care. Moskowitz, Ehinger, and the Yellow Jackets have raised more than $1,000 to donate to the Cleveland Clinic.
The event meant a lot to the Brighton native, "the opportunity to hold this event, at a game I love, to support and raise money for a cause that has affected me personally and so many others is very rewarding. The BW community has been very receptive from the professors, faculty, and students. The support to start something that means so much to you is extremely gratifying."
Volleyball has opened many doors for Moskowitz and helped her grow not only as an athlete but a person.
"Everyone's fighting a battle, small or large," she said. "Be kind and appreciate what we have because everything that we know can be gone so fast."