The release from USF in full.
TAMPA, April 13, 2016 - The USF softball team will be showing their support for sophomore Meredith Bissette, who was recently diagnosed with cancer, with on-field displays of support throughout the remainder of the 2016 season and a fundraiser on Sunday, May 8.
Bissette, an infielder who has appeared in 32 games for the Bulls in the last two seasons, returned home to North Carolina to join her family last week after her diagnosis. She is set to begin treatment in Boston in the coming days.
"Obviously, everyone was stunned by Meredith's diagnoses and the battle she is now facing," USF Head Coach Ken Eriksen said. "The way she has handled everything has really been inspirational to her teammates, her coaches and everyone she touches. She has been unwavering and so positive in facing this challenge. Her teammates and coaches love her and miss her, and we will do everything we can to support her in this fight."
The Bulls are showing their support for their teammate by hanging her No. 00 jersey in the dugout, writing her jersey number on their wrists, and using the hashtag #MereBearStrong on supportive messages on social media.
"It is always difficult to see the young people who make our program so special face such challenges," USF Director of Athletics Mark Harlan said. "Meredith Bissette is a special young woman and her approach to this fight has been inspirational to all of us. She will remain in our thoughts and prayers and we will do everything we can to support Meredith and her family."
A GoFundMe.com account has been set up under the name MereBearStrong (www.gofundme.com/merebearstrong) for those wishing to donate to support Bissette's treatment. Anyone wishing to donate more than $500 is encouraged to contact Head Coach Ken Eriksen directly at Eriksen@usf.edu.
The softball program will host a fundraiser for the Bissette family on Sunday, May 8 at the softball stadium. A home run derby will take place with USF student-athletes participating. That event will begin at 4:30 p.m. following the USF baseball game against Tulane. USF student-athletes will participate with supporters donating money for each home run hit or making a set donation for the event. There will also be a silent auction of donated items from the national softball community.
"I want to thank everyone for the huge support I have received from friends, family, my entire USF family, the softball community, and supporters through social media," Bissette said. "I feel like I have the confidence to overpower this cancer and it is thanks to y'all.
"I am staying positive, happy and confident through this whole ordeal. I know I will beat this cancer, and that it is just a small bump in the road. I will be back better and stronger than ever after completing my treatment over the summer. I plan to be back at USF kicking and screaming again come fall."
I stopped by USF Softball practice yesterday and the ladies were in good spirits, ready to help their teammate through her fight.
Here's a pic of the bracelet the team is wearing courtesy of USF Softball SID Lindsey Morrison.
You've got an entire university in your corner, Meredith. We look forward to your kicking and screaming from the dugout soon. #MereBearStrong