Du Quoin Middle School captured first-place honors Sept. 9 at the fourth-annual Zeigler-Royalton Coaches vs. Cancer softball tournament, posting wins over De Soto and Crab Orchard.
While it may have been the Lady Warriors that hoisted the championship trophy, the big winners were those in the area fighting cancer.
All proceeds raised at the tournament ($1,058.15) were earmarked for the American Cancer Society.
In 2014, Z-R players themselves suggested that the tournament be renamed the Coaches vs. Cancer Tournament in support of that school's fight against cancer. Through their hard work and the support of their families and coaches, the girls have raised a significant amount of money for the fight against cancer and have been featured on a number of American Cancer Society websites.
To date, the tournament has raised more than $113,000. The money comes back to southern Illinois in many ways. A perfect example is Hope Lodge in St. Louis. Hope Lodge is a resource where patients receiving treatment can stay free of charge.
From Jan. 1 to June 30 of this year, people from the counties represented by the teams in the tournament received 473 nights of free lodging at a place that is clean, safe and conveniently located near treatment centers.
Cancer rates in southern Illinois are especially high. The money raised at events like the softball tournament goes to the American Cancer Society to support research and patient services for southern Illinois.
Coaches vs. Cancer is a joint program of the American Cancer Society and the National Association of Basketball Coaches designed to raise money for the fight against cancer and raise awareness among the student body.