Appalachian State Women’s Basketball Coach Pens Open Letter About Cancer Diagnosis

Last Updated on June 16, 2016 8:19 pm

Open Letter from Appalachian State University Women’s Basketball Head Coach Angel Elderkin

June 16, 2016

Dear family, friends, colleagues and the entire Appalachian State community,

I recently made my team aware that I have been diagnosed with endometrial cancer. I have completed the surgical portion of my treatment and all of the clinically apparent cancer has been removed.

Consistent with the standard treatment for this type of cancer, I have started on the recommended post-operative treatment plan that includes both chemotherapy and radiation therapy. It is expected that I will complete the full treatment plan prior to the start of our upcoming season in November. I have already undergone 2-of-6 planned chemotherapy treatment cycles and the good news is that I am feeling great and tolerating the treatments very well!

I have a tremendous team of doctors overseeing my care. As I have told my family, friends, coaching staff, team and administration, I will beat this! I am grateful to all for their support.

While I must make some adjustments, this will not impact my ability to lead the Appalachian State program now or in the future. I have a talented, hard-working and dedicated coaching staff, all of whom are working towards a successful season under my leadership. I also have the most supportive group of student-athletes that any coach could ask for. Words cannot describe how much I appreciate all of them for standing with me as I continue this journey. Just as I ask my team to do on a daily basis, I remain positive, resilient and full of fight!

I ask that you please respect my desire for privacy during this time and I thank you in advance for your support. I look forward to seeing everyone in November when we open the 2016-17 season.


Statement from Appalachian State University Chancellor Dr. Sheri N. Everts
“Since her arrival at Appalachian, Coach Elderkin has worked tirelessly to be an excellent mentor and coach.  In this process, she has earned the respect of her team and displayed an amazing amount of heart.  As someone who has fought a similar fight, I understand the battle and she has my wholehearted support.  Also, I know the entire Appalachian Community stands with Angel as she faces the challenge ahead of her. We will continue to keep her in our thoughts and in our hearts.”

Statement from Appalachian State University Director of Athletics Doug Gillin
“Coach Elderkin is a tremendous asset to our University, athletics department, students and community. Her attitude and determination in this time is an inspiration to all of us. We all support Angel as she undergoes her treatments while continuing to lead our women’s basketball student-athletes and staff. We look forward to seeing her on the bench when play begins in November.”

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