Photo above: The Battery Creek girls volleyball team is raising money for diabetes research. Photo provided.
By Justin Jarrett
The Battery Creek volleyball team is enjoying its best season in decades, and the Dolphins also are making an impact off the court.
The Dolphins recently clinched the Region 8-3A title – their first region crown since 1991 — and on the same night they held a raffle to benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
It’s a cause that hits close to home because two team members – sophomore Amayah White and freshman Laiani McCullough – are living with Type 1 Diabetes. The notion of a fundraiser to benefit the JDRF and aid local outreach programs for families who are unable to purchase testing supplies was the team’s idea.
“Their teammates just kind of wanted to rally behind them and understand more about it,” fourth-year coach Torri McCullough said. “It was kind of a learning process. Everybody was kind of scared to ask, and the girls didn’t really want to talk about it.”
That changed during the team’s summer retreat to Parris Island. During a campfire discussion one night at the Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Torri McCullough asked his players to take turns sharing one positive thing and one negative thing that has made an impact on them. Laiani and Amayah both spoke about living with Type 1 Diabetes, which furthered the dialogue.
Now their teammates – many of whom also play on the Dolphins’ softball team with Laiani and Amayah – have a better understanding of how to recognize when their friends might need to test their glucose levels, as well as the constant challenges for diabetics.
McCullough said both girls initially were hesitant to open up about their condition but have become more accepting of their diagnoses and hope to continue to speak more openly to students and parents and advocate for those who are unable to afford the costly supplies necessary to care for their condition.
Having the support of their teammates has helped them reach the newfound comfort level.
“The best thing for those two is that they have each other,” McCullough said. “Sometimes during the match Laiani would be testing and everyone would turn around and be looking at her and make her uncomfortable. Now she knows they just want to make sure she’s OK.”
Justin Jarrett can be reached at LowcoSports@gmail.com.