Lady Knight competes on field and in life - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lady Knight competes on field and in life

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September 10, 2003

Albany-- When Deerfield-Windsor plays softball Thursday in Columbus, the Lady Knights don't know if their number one pitcher will be able to play. That's because their ace spent today in Atlanta undergoing a chemotherapy treatment for Hodgkin's disease. 

Courtney Kelley said "It kind of helps me not to think about it and it kind of helps me to have courage." 

Since she was diagnosed four months ago with Hodgkins disease, Courney Kelley has to undergo chemotherapy two out of every three weeks in Atlanta.  Her chemo treatments mean that Courtney can not be at every game this season.  But as soon as she is released from the hospital, she heads back to Albany to re-join her teammates and to take her place on the pitcher's mound.

Courtney Kelley said "Especially on game days and I am not here to pitch and other people are pitching and I kinda of think about it and I wish I was here instead of there.

Sometimes though Courtney simply doesn't have enough strength to pitch after her chemotherapy treatments. Her father and pitching coach, Mike Kelly, says one medication she takes affects the nerves in her hands and makes it hard to hold a softball.
No matter how bad she feels, Courtney does everything she can to make it to practice or a game.

Courtney Kelley said "Sometimes I feel that way that I just don't know if I can even get out of bed to come to practice or to come to a game but I just try to think you know I can get out therre and do it.  I have done it before." 

However, the fact that Courtney does practice and play when feeling as bad as she does is one reason why none of her teammates even think of skipping practice. 

Senior Erinn Knight said "Last year we would say we had a stomach ache and we couldn't go to practice and now seeing her out here there is no excuses for us because she is so strong and she is out here every day really fighting something."

Being with her teammates is also very important to Courtney, though she doesn't want them to treat her any differently. 

Courtney Kelley said "I still have to do everything as everybody else and my dad is the pitching coach and he doesn't treat me any differently than he does any of the other pitchers.

Erinn Knight said "She wants the same love as she got last year.  She doesn't want any one to treat her any different."

 When Courtney goes to Atlanta next week, she will find out if the months of chemotherapy have been successful. 

 If the size of her tumor has decreased by 75 percent, her course of treatment will change.

Courtney Kelley said "It is a different regimen of medicine and it is not as much medicine."

And for Courtney that is just as good as the pitcher's best friend-- the double-play.

updated at 11:45PM by dave.miller@walb.com