EKU holds cancer awareness event to honor former basketball ball boy
Jared Chitwood passed away in 2018 after a fight with an aggressive form of leukemia. Now every year, the university holds a "Team Jared" event to raise awareness for the deadly disease.
RICHMOND, Ky (WTVQ)- Eastern Kentucky University raised awareness for cancer this weekend in honor of a former ball boy who died from the disease nearly four years ago.
“We never thought we would lose Jared. But it’s amazing that we can still share his story,” said Kim Chitwood, Jared’s mother.
Kim says her son is someone who cared for others. He also loved basketball.
“He was a junior colonel club ball boy for EKU for 4 years and he took that job very seriously. He wanted to come to every single game,” Chitwood said.
Jared passed away in 2018 after a fight with an aggressive form of leukemia. Now every year, the university holds a “Team Jared” event to raise awareness for the deadly disease.
“This is bigger than a game today,” said EKU head basketball coach A.W. Hamilton.
Hamilton understands the battle the Chitwoods faced.
“My wife and I have three kids. So I’m 39 years old, I’m on top of the world, I’m the head basketball coach at Eastern Kentucky. And I got diagnosed with cancer and I had to battle cancer,” Hamilton said.
Now they all come together to remember Jared and to make sure everyone else who has to face the battle doesn’t stand alone.
“Be part of something bigger than ourselves. And cancer hits anybody at any age, and you just never know. So the more awareness we can bring, the better our country, our world will be, period,” said Hamilton.
“I do that because I hope that if I can just help one person just through the things that we have learned as we’ve gone through this cancer journey, that it’s all worth it. It’s hard to share his story, it’s hard that we didn’t get that outcome that we thought we were going to get. But we learned a lot,” Chitwood said.
To close out the event, Jared’s family and EKU athletes and staff attend a memorial walk from Weaver Gymnasium to McBrayer Arena.
EKU was set to face Liberty in a home basketball game Saturday afternoon. The Chitwoods were honored during that game.