Troy Women's Soccer team rallies for player fighting cancer

Kailani Decock and friends.
Kailani Decock and friends.

TROY, AL (WSFA) - Cancer is a disease that touches just about everyone in someway. Thursday, the Troy University Women's Soccer Team joined the fight when they learned cancer threatened to take one of their teammates down.

"Always working hard in the field, always someone I felt like I could talk to if I needed to," says Payton Donley.

"It would be her senior season," adds Maddie Tieken.

But Troy soccer player Kailani Decock didn't come back to school this semester. She's undergoing chemotherapy after being diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma two months ago.

"She's in the fight for her life," admits Coach Chris Bentley.

It's a fight her coach and teammates are ready to take on.

"We've had injuries, you know? You talk about knee injuries or you talk about maybe even  concussions and things like that," Bentley explains, "but never something where it's life threatening..."

So the team started Project 19, a very outspoken way to show support for the very soft-spoken player.

"She's the sweetest girl ever," Tieken says.

"Quietly did her job, never complained," the girl's coach adds.

Kilani's quiet spirit isn't looking for all the attention. She want's Project 19 to be bigger than just one girl. So the team is on a mission to also raise awareness about Hodgkin's Lymphoma. The mission starts with purple bracelets.

The bracelets say "No one fights alone" and the entire team is wearing them.

"Every time we're running sprints, or doing a hard workout, you just look down at your bracelet and you see we're doing this for Kilani and we're fighting for her," Donley says.

It's a reminder of who they're playing for this year.

"We're out there to win for her," Tieken says, "and she's kind of our motivation this season."

And it's a chance to spread their message that cancer has messed with the wrong girl.

The soccer team is selling the bracelets for a $5 donation, and because the word has spread so far, so fast, Troy University is working to establish a donation site online.

The team just established a Facebook page and a Twitter handle this week that can be found by searching for #Project19.

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