The celebration of life for Nancy Kelly ‘15 continued when the women’s basketball team retired her #14 jersey, making it the first number ever retired for a female athlete at VWC. With many friends, family and alumni packing the Convocation Center, coaches Stephany Dunmyer and Andrea Thurston delivered an emotional speech remembering Kelly, which was concluded by the revealing of her jersey in the rafters.
“Saturday was an emotional day, but I thought it was also a very joyful day as we honored, celebrated and remembered Nancy. It was so nice having her family and friends here as well as our Marlin Alumni family,” Dunmyer said.
Through a generous $25,000 gift by Tassos and Dolores Paphites, the Nancy A. Kelly ’15 Memorial Endowment was formed to provide financial assistance to the women’s basketball team. It will also provide the team with the opportunity to travel around the world to compete and practice. On some of these trips, they will be doing a series of community service events honoring Nancy’s passion for helping others. Each member of the team will be guaranteed a trip as the team will travel once every four years starting in the 2017-2018 season.
Since Nancy’s passing, the women’s basketball team has teamed up with Donate Life, which, according to their website, is “a not-for-profit alliance of national organizations and state teams across the United States committed to increasing the number of donated organs, eyes and tissue available for transplant to save and heal lives.” The team promoted Donate Life by passing out stickers at the ceremony to encourage fans to register to be an organ donor, just like Nancy was. The members of the starting line up for the Marlins, Jayla Harris, Amanda Gerni, NiAsia Caldwell, Raya Berkley and Naeemah Morris, were each accompanied by an organ donation recipient whose life was saved through Donate Life.
Contact Athletic Director Joanne Renn at firstname.lastname@example.org, Coach Dunmyer at email@example.com, or Coach Thurston at firstname.lastname@example.org for information on how to donate to the Nancy A. Kelly ’15 Memorial Endowment.
(Photos: Courtesy |Department of Sports Information)