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Millikin basketball coach Kerans faces new breast cancer bout

Dec 2, 2008 8:50:28 AM

Millikin women’s basketball Lori Kerans, who has been a visible advocate for cancer awareness since she survived a bout with the disease during the late 1990s, underwent surgery last week for breast cancer.

“This is a new cancer and is totally unrelated to her breast cancer 11 years ago,” the school announced in a statement posted on its Web site. “It is our understanding that this cancer is a different type than before and is a new occurrence not connected to the type she previously battled. Thanks in part to early detection, the outlook for coach Kerans’ full recovery is extremely positive.”

Kerans, who is in her 23rd year of coaching at the school where she also played, hopes to return to the bench in time for Millikin’s next game Saturday at Missouri Baptist.

In an interview with the Decatur (Illinois) Herald & Review before undergoing surgery last Wednesday, Kerans said this occurrence of cancer has not spread to the extent that it did before, and “in the minds of my surgeon and oncologist, it is not nearly as dangerous.”

Kerans, who coached Millikin to the 2005 Division III Women’s Basketball Championship title, has led efforts at the school to promote cancer awareness and raise funds for research since surviving the first bout with the disease. In 1998, just months after finishing treatment, Kerans became involved with the Coaches vs. Cancer program. She organized an annual tournament and three-point shootout benefiting the organization that raised more than $75,000 during an eight-year run ending last season.

In its statement, the school urged fans wishing to show support for Kerans “to plan to attend the women’s basketball team’s Think Pink game” on Valentine’s Day in Decatur.

“That afternoon will be the perfect time to continue Lori’s efforts to raise awareness of breast cancer as well as raise funds for the Komen Race for the Cure,” the statement continued. “The event also will provide you a chance to support Lori in another victory over cancer.”

Kerans stepped down as athletics director at the school early this year to concentrate on her coaching duties. She continues to serve as Millikin’s senior woman administrator.

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