Oct 31, 2011
Illinois Wesleyan’s Smith To Coach Through Breast Cancer

BLOOMINGTON — Mia Smith’s considerable smile hasn’t decreased in size or intensity.

It’s just beaming out from underneath a new head of hair.

“Getting used to the wig is a big thing, Smith said. It’s a little different. I still get in the shower and think I’m going to wash my hair but nothing’s there.”

Smith lost her hair through chemotherapy and will continue to wage her battle with breast cancer while remaining on duty as Illinois Wesleyan women’s basketball coach.

“I was diagnosed in June. I’ve had four chemo treatments, all successful, said Smith. I’m surprised how well I responded. I’m really proud of my doctors. I think they put together a good plan to keep me from getting sick.”

Fatigue has been an issue as the Titans prepare for a Tuesday exhibition at DePaul before opening the regular season Nov. 18.

“The prognosis is really good. I was diagnosed with a grade two tumor, a little bit advanced but not too bad, said the 14th-year Wesleyan coach. They removed it with a lumpectomy and took a couple lymph nodes.”

Smith has nine remaining drug treatments and will begin a series of 33 radiation treatments on Tuesday.

“I should be done by the time we take our trip (to California in late December), she said. Other than that, I feel really good.”

Smith has drawn inspiration from the start of practice in mid-October.

“As far as being with the girls, I actually think they are great medicine for me, said Smith. Every time I see them in practice, I’m rejuvenated. I get energy I didn’t have throughout the day. The biggest factor for me is maintaining my energy.”

Titan senior Olivia Lett said her coach has been business as usual in practice.

“It does put things in perspective with life in general. But to be honest, it doesn’t come up very often, Lett said. She comes to practice every day ready to work. You can’t tell it’s slowing her down at all. That’s pretty amazing.”

Smith approached IWU athletic director Dennie Bridges over the summer with concerns about her team if side effects from treatment caused her to temporarily step away from coaching.

“We agreed I would try to make myself available to step in and help her assistants, said Bridges, who won 667 games as the Wesleyan men’s basketball coach from 1965 to 2001. I’ve gone to almost every practice. I could do it. I know the personnel, and I know her offense and defense.”

Neither Smith nor Bridges plan on Bridges taking over at any point in the coming season.

“I don’t anticipate that at all, Smith said. It’s a backup plan should something happen and I fall ill.”

Bridges looks forward to maintaining his seat on the upper level of Shirk Center and watching Smith coach her team.

“She’s meeting it head on, Bridges said, and she’s going to beat it.”

Read more: http://www.pantagraph.com/sports/college/basketball/women/article_8f5b62e4-0374-11e1-a878-001cc4c03286.html#ixzz1cNkRokpN

Illinois Wesleyan’s Smith To Coach Through Breast Cancer

Pantagraph.com, Randy Reinhardt

http://www.pantagraph.com/sports/college/basketball/women/article_8f5b62e4-0374-11e1-a878-001cc4c03286.html

BLOOMINGTON — Mia Smith’s considerable smile hasn’t decreased in size or intensity.

It’s just beaming out from underneath a new head of hair.

“Getting used to the wig is a big thing, Smith said. It’s a little different. I still get in the shower and think I’m going to wash my hair but nothing’s there.”

Smith lost her hair through chemotherapy and will continue to wage her battle with breast cancer while remaining on duty as Illinois Wesleyan women’s basketball coach.

“I was diagnosed in June. I’ve had four chemo treatments, all successful, said Smith. I’m surprised how well I responded. I’m really proud of my doctors. I think they put together a good plan to keep me from getting sick.”

Fatigue has been an issue as the Titans prepare for a Tuesday exhibition at DePaul before opening the regular season Nov. 18.

“The prognosis is really good. I was diagnosed with a grade two tumor, a little bit advanced but not too bad, said the 14th-year Wesleyan coach. They removed it with a lumpectomy and took a couple lymph nodes.”

Smith has nine remaining drug treatments and will begin a series of 33 radiation treatments on Tuesday.

“I should be done by the time we take our trip (to California in late December), she said. Other than that, I feel really good.”

Smith has drawn inspiration from the start of practice in mid-October.

“As far as being with the girls, I actually think they are great medicine for me, said Smith. Every time I see them in practice, I’m rejuvenated. I get energy I didn’t have throughout the day. The biggest factor for me is maintaining my energy.”

Titan senior Olivia Lett said her coach has been business as usual in practice.

“It does put things in perspective with life in general. But to be honest, it doesn’t come up very often, Lett said. She comes to practice every day ready to work. You can’t tell it’s slowing her down at all. That’s pretty amazing.”

Smith approached IWU athletic director Dennie Bridges over the summer with concerns about her team if side effects from treatment caused her to temporarily step away from coaching.

“We agreed I would try to make myself available to step in and help her assistants, said Bridges, who won 667 games as the Wesleyan men’s basketball coach from 1965 to 2001. I’ve gone to almost every practice. I could do it. I know the personnel, and I know her offense and defense.”

Neither Smith nor Bridges plan on Bridges taking over at any point in the coming season.

“I don’t anticipate that at all, Smith said. It’s a backup plan should something happen and I fall ill.”

Bridges looks forward to maintaining his seat on the upper level of Shirk Center and watching Smith coach her team.

“She’s meeting it head on, Bridges said, and she’s going to beat it.”

Read more: http://www.pantagraph.com/sports/college/basketball/women/article_8f5b62e4-0374-11e1-a878-001cc4c03286.html#ixzz1cNkRokpN






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