BUCKHANNON – The West Virginia Wesleyan volleyball team will be playing for a special cause this Friday night when they host the University of Charleston Golden Eagles at Rockefeller Center.
Head coach Ashley Ziegle has designated the game as a Dig for the Cure contest, a program started in 2003 to help raise money for breast cancer and cancer research.
Wesleyan's Dig for the Cure will have a special meaning for the volleyball team this year as it will be titled "Digging for What Matters." The game will be dedicated to Daniel Matter, the late father of current player junior Morgan Matter.
The game will also be a "Black Out" contest as everyone attending is encouraged to wear black.
Daniel was the loving husband of Eileen for 23 years and influential father to six children -- Maura (22) Morgan (21) Logan (18) Maeve (17) Meara (16) and Caelan (14).
He coached Morgan throughout her basketball career and shared his knowledge about football with Logan, who attends the University of Iowa.
This past summer, a drastic surprise took place for Daniel was diagnosed with leukemia on May 22, 2016. This was three days before his son, Logan's high school graduation, which he was unable to attend. Four days later, Daniel coded and almost didn't survive but despite the odds, he made great progress.
He defied all the doctors and woke up and was going into remission.
He spent a total of 55 days in the hospital with 48 of them being in CCU. He received numerous blood transfusions and chemo therapy throughout his stay. He made remarkable progress and the doctors couldn't believe how well he was doing.
He was transferred to a rehab center to get stronger. Over the course of the three weeks he was in rehab, it was noticed that his cognitive level and his balance was regressing. He was finally taken to have a CAT scan to see what was causing this.
It was found that he had metastatic cancer to his brain with multiple tumors. He started radiation immediately. The doctors estimated his survival to be nine months to a year. By the third day, they realized the cancer was too advanced and unstoppable. He became unconscious and was transferred to hospice where he could pass away peacefully.
He passed away August 13th at 8:11 a.m.
He was a graduate from the University of Iowa, the class of 1978. While in college, he played football for the Hawkeyes and was named All-American his junior and senior year.
He continued his career onto the NFL level with the Kansas City Chiefs and later with the Detroit Lions. After retiring from the NFL, he decided to attend nursing school and become an OBGYN nurse.
During the game with Charleston, the volleyball team will be holding a silent auction of themed baskets that they put together. There will also be raffle drawings for gift cards and volleyball gear.
If you would like to make a donation to the Dig for the Cure game, please contact coach Ziegle at Ziegle_@wvwc.edu or at 304-473-8219.
"Morgan is part of our volleyball family so we are honored to be able to help her family out in this way," Ziegle remarked. "We have been humbled by the amount of donations people have already given and the amount of love and support shown to Morgan."