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NEO raised $1,200 for DeAnna Chenoweth at the annual Pink Game. Special thanks to sponsors B. Oliver’s, Donna Hale and NEO Women and Friends, Edie Ingram, Jana Hayes, Judy Kowal and Kountry Pearls & Bling, Kathryn Vanover, the NEO Bookstore, and Integris Miami.

NEO Basketball will host its annual breast cancer awareness game on Monday, Feb. 15. The Lady Norse will tip off at 5:30 p.m. and the men will follow at 7:30 p.m. This year’s “Get Your Pink On” benefit game hits close to home, as NEO Basketball will honor DeAnna Chenoweth, the mother of one its very own players, sophomore Hannah Chenoweth. All proceeds from fundraisers at the game will benefit Chenoweth to help pay for medical expenses. A limited number of “Get Your Pink On” t-shirts will be available to purchase for $10 and include free admission to the game. In addition, a silent auction will be set up in the lobby and feature a pink basketball signed by all of the NEO basketball players. The winner will be announced during halftime of the men’s game.

A single mom of three children, including Hannah’s twin sister Malarie and brother Eli, she was diagnosed in 2012 at the age of 41 after feeling a lump during a self-examination. As a healthcare sonographer, Chenoweth understood the importance of self-exams. Despite no history in her family, she was formally diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer just one week later. Managing three teenagers on her own, she had to juggle treatment, work, and being a parent. “Your lifestyle changes and you have to find a new normal,” said Chenoweth. “My kids really stepped up and took on adult roles. While I was flying to Chicago for treatments, the girls were taking care of their brother by preparing dinner, helping with homework, and driving him around.”

Chenoweth’s courage during her battle did not go unnoticed by her children. “We have always looked up to our mom for her bravery and strength, but we never really understood how strong of a woman she was until she began her fight against breast cancer,” said daughter Hannah. “She has never been the kind of person to focus on herself. It was always about us and making sure she could give us everything that she didn’t have for herself.”

According to Hannah, in the beginning her mother would wake up around 3:00 a.m. daily to give herself treatments. “We never heard a single complaint from her only the occasional apology, which of course wasn’t needed,” she added. “Through all of this, we have really grown as a family.”

After successfully completing chemotherapy and radiation, Chenoweth endured rigorous reconstructive surgeries. Now in remission, she is focused on educating others about breast cancer. “Some organizations recommend a mammogram only every two years, but I believe that early detection saved my life. I was scheduled for a mammogram just a few weeks after I found my lump, so they would have found it. Early detection is the best weapon we have,” said Chenoweth.

Hoping her experience might save the life of someone else; she stresses the importance of self-exams. “It is important to keep up with self-exams. Some people say they just can’t tell the difference between something normal and something abnormal, but I always say you should take time to understand your body. We used to think breast cancer only affected middle-aged and older women, but we know that young women and even men can get breast cancer, so it’s important to listen to your body.”

NEO will honor Chenoweth for her perseverance during the halftime of the men’s basketball game. For more information about the Pink Game or to make a special donation, contact Lisa Severe at lsevere@neo.edu.

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