Tonight, the Iowa State women’s basketball team will host the Texas Tech Lady Raiders in the annual Play 4Kay game. This year’s game carries a little more meaning than ones in the past, as the Cyclones will use the game, in part, as a tribute to Melissa Grossman, the sister of junior Lexi Albrecht, who lost her battle to cancer in late December.
The team will wear their usual “United We Fight” T-shirts for warmups before the game, but this year’s shirt holds a special message on the back. At the request of several team members, the hashtag “#FightLikeMel” was printed on the back of the T-shirt to honor Grossman’s fight against cancer.
“If you knew Melissa, you knew that she was the biggest fighter and she took every obstacle head on with a smile on her face and never complained,” Albrecht said. “If she was given lemons, she made lemonade.”
Albrecht missed Iowa State’s game at Kansas State on Dec. 30 following the death of her sister, but the Cyclones earned a hard-fought road win to honor the Albrecht family and Grossman.
The following day the entire team and coaching staff piled into vehicles and drove to Carroll, Iowa to support Albrecht and her family at Grossman’s funeral.
Grossman was a fixture at Iowa State games, even after her cancer diagnosis. She would hardly miss an opportunity to cheer on the Cyclones and her sister.
Saturday was the first time Albrecht learned about the hashtag honoring her sister and she was touched that the team chose to adorn the Play 4Kay shirts with her sister’s hashtag.
“Cancer and breast cancer has affected my family and having these ‘Pink Out’ games to promote and bring about awareness to breast cancer is really important to me and my family,” Albrecht said. “It will hopefully save other people’s lives and prevent someone losing a family member to breast cancer.”
To read more about Albrecht’s story check out the articles below from the Ames Tribune and Des Moines Register.
Des Moines Register: ISU’s Lexi Albrecht playing with heavy heart after sister’s death