Melissa Benton

Melissa J. Benton of Frankfort, who has stage IV ovarian cancer, played a role in Western Hills hosting the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Tournament Saturday at WHHS. (Photo submitted)

Western Hills volleyball coach Kristi Buffenmyer has seen what Dig Pink volleyball events have done for breast cancer research and awareness.

She’d like to see the sport do the same thing for ovarian cancer.

On Saturday, WHHS will host the Ovarian Cancer Awareness Tournament at Lapsley Cardwell Gymnasium.

All proceeds from the tournament will go to Baptist Health Lexington for women battling ovarian cancer.

“It can be used for treatment, transportation, housing, whatever they need to help them,” Buffenmyer said.

The WHHS volleyball team was looking for an organization to help with its tournament, and Buffenmyer goes to church with Melissa Benton, who has Stage IV ovarian cancer.

The tournament was planned for September, which is Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month.

“Everything just fell together,” Buffenmyer said.

Benton has written about her journey, and that story will be included in the tournament packet each team receives.

She saw medical professionals for about five months last year before receiving her diagnosis in November.

“I am a middle-aged woman diagnosed with ovarian cancer,” she wrote. “A woman who had multiple symptoms for months who was not able to get an early diagnosis.

“I share my story to empower other women to be ovarian cancer aware.”

According to the American Cancer Society, four out of five ovarian cancer patients are diagnosed with advanced disease.

To help raise funds Saturday, there will be a silent auction and a bake sale, and there will be T-shirts for sale that were designed for this event.

“Our goal is to raise $1,000,” Buffenmyer said.

Admission to the tournament will be $10 for adults and $3 for students.

Pool play begins at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, followed by crossover for tournament seeding matches at 1:30 p.m.

The single-elimination tournament starts at 4:30 p.m., and the championship match is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

Besides Western Hills, teams in the tournament are Shelby County, Eminence, Boyle County, Eminence, Lexington Catholic, Owen County, Henry County and Barren County.

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