NC State

Kay Yow's impact still growing five years after passing

Posted January 24

— It was this day five years ago that Coach Kay Yow lost her battle with cancer. And while time has passed, memories of her still surround us. A statue on campus, the court the Wolfpack women play on and, of course, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

Sue Donohoe used to coach college basketball and met Yow, along with Tennessee’s Pat Summitt, on a recruiting trip in the early 1980’s. Donohoe now serves as the executive director of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund.

“She personally asked me if I would be a part of her board of directors. I've had some very humbling and honored experiences in my career but that was one of them,” Donohoe recounted. “Our mission, and her vision, was to raise funds to support women's cancer research, assist the under-served and unify people for a common cause.”

Yow’s mission was developed and began evolving as she fought cancer for 22 years. Six years after its inception, the Kay Yow Cancer Fund is giving back in the form of grants for cancer research – like the one given to Vanderbilt this week in the amount of $100,000 for ovarian cancer research

“She never did really lose her battle with cancer,” Donohoe said. “She just simply turned it over to us and she entrusted us with her vision and her mission. It was a special gift from her.”

In the coming weeks, a $1 million grant will be announced that further embodies Yow’s spirit and determination to beat cancer in women.

“After six years, to sit here and say we have supported almost $3 million in women's cancer research and related projects, I think Coach Yow would be smiling and she would be clapping her hands in that very special way,” Donohoe said. “Today, January 24th, we celebrate her. We celebrate her every day, it's just a day to celebrate a little bit more and the candles burn a little bit brighter.”

Yow won 737 games in her legendary coaching career. Today, her team is much larger and trying to earn the biggest win of them all.

“What we know is that victory number 738 needs to be to find a cure because that's what she wanted victory number 738 to be,” Donohoe said. “I hope to lose my job, because if I do, we've found a cure.”

6 Comments

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  • aprilhunter220 Jan 27, 11:19 a.m.

    I just can't believe that it has been 5 years.

  • LuvLivingInCary Jan 27, 7:43 a.m.

    Yea and her sister has ruined the athletics program at NC State and we are the laughing stock of the ACC.

  • vt94hokies Jan 25, 8:16 a.m.

    One of the greatest.

  • jmcdow2792 Jan 25, 5:21 a.m.

    Kay Yow was a remarkable woman, and her legacy will live on forever not only at NC State, but... View More

    — Posted by Gunnstigator

    Agree. You said it well.

  • BB5 Jan 24, 11:57 p.m.

    Kay Yow was a remarkable woman, and her legacy will live on forever not only at NC State, but... View More

    — Posted by Gunnstigator

    +1

  • Gunnstigator Jan 24, 8:08 p.m.

    Kay Yow was a remarkable woman, and her legacy will live on forever not only at NC State, but all women's basketball programs. She touched so many people, and I can only hope that the ultimate rival - Cancer - is defeated some day.

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