Blogs > Elm City to Eagleville

A blog on UConn women's basketball.

Monday, December 03, 2012

Jimmy V Classic special to both coaches

When organizers of the Jimmy V Classic first sent the inquiry about playing in this year's event, they did not have to ask Maryland coach Brenda Frese twice.

Frese's family has been passionate about the subject of cancer research since her son Tyler was diagnosed with leukemia.

"It is personal for us and our family, everything that Tyler is going through and continuing to go through," Frese said at the press conference promoting the event in September. "We'll do anything we can do to bring awareness and help in this fight against cancer any way we can.

Frese said that Tyler is currently cancer free but he still has chemotherapy sessions for the next year and a half. The response to Tyler's fight has been heartwarming for Frese, her family and the Maryland community.

"It's been overwhelming," Frese said. "Obviously everybody knows the story and know how personal it is. Obviously the matchup adds to it being able to play Connecticut and be able to bring them back to College Park for our fans but the No. 1 reason we wanted to be able to play in it was to help bring awareness and find any way we can to be able to help with cancer research and be able help find a cure.

"He is doing really well. He is cancer free right now but still has a year and a half left of treatment and then it is a waiting game to see how he reacts to everything. He is in preschool, on the outside a normal boy in terms of his activity level and how he plays. He is a fighter and we feel pretty fortunate that so far he is on a really good path."

The event is very special to UConn coach Geno Auriemma as well. Auriemma's father succumbed to cancer and Auriemma has been involved in a myriad of cancer fundraising events.

"I love what the tournament stands for," Auriemma said. "I think anybody that was a coach at any time and anybody that ever got to watch Jimmy V coach or have been around him at all, knows anybody who has been around him and any time you can be around that it is pretty special. I hope we are in it every year."


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