DOUGLAS COUNTY, Colo. — Tennis is usually known as an individual sport. But when a woman in Douglas County was diagnosed with cancer last year, her tennis team grew into a family. Without them, she may not have the strength to continue fighting and playing the sport she loves.
"I wouldn’t make it without them. I wouldn’t be here without them. They’re my family, my strength," said Kathleen Beyes, who was diagnosed with invasive ductal carcinoma last October.
The breast cancer diagnosis brought with it a new support system.
"Those are the people that are going to be there for you. They’ll be there through thick and thin. And they are. Every step of the way, they’ve been there," Beyes said. "I’m so blessed. I’m so fortunate."
Between chemotherapy and doctor's appointments, Beyes didn’t know if she’d be able to continue playing tennis with her team at the Parker Racquet Club in Douglas County.
Then her teammates, like Linda Manassee Buell and Henriette Nash, gave her the strength to keep going.
"We are a family, not just a tennis team," Nash said.
The women now wear pink outfits on the court, raising awareness of cancer and supporting Beyes.
"Everything is pink ribbons and I’m so proud to get to wear that this year," Manassee Buell said. "We’ve been through difficult times, but now we’re here together facing what I would say is one of our most difficult times."
They’ve dedicated this season to their teammate fighting on and off the court.
Beyes thinks she still has more than a year of treatments and surgeries left to go through before doctors hope she’ll be healthy again. She plans to keep playing tennis with her tennis family every day she has the energy to be out on the court.
"The hours that I’m on the court, I don’t have to have cancer. And that really makes me feel good," Beyes said. "I was scared, but I knew that I had my faith, I had my family, and I had my tennis team."
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