WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) - Purdue women's basketball has played terrific basketball this season while dealing with a serious illness within its basketball family.
Boilermaker Women's Basketball Director of Operations Terry Kix is undergoing treatment for stomach cancer, which limits Kix to attending home games only.
The courage that Kix has provided for Boilermaker women's basketball has extended to road games and every practice. And has inspired a key part of the game day staff at Mackey Arena to honor the highly-popular Boilermaker assistant.
Terry Kix has a well-deserved reputation as someone with the sunniest of dispositions. And even during the toughest of times, Kix won't let stomach cancer dampen her spirits.
"Surrounding yourself with positive people is so important," Kix said. "I have two great doctors, two very positive doctors. Your mindset for me personally is everything. And I look at this as just another challenge in my chapter."
Kix is in her seventh season as Purdue Women's Basketball Director of Operations. The respect and admiration for her runs deep in the Boilermaker basketball family.
"I first met Terry on my visit here, on my official visit here. And I just remember her being the biggest ball of fire," said Purdue senior forward Drey Mingo. "(Terry's) such the sweetest person."
Boilermaker redshirt junior guard KK Houser says that Kix's presence at home games and practice is a blessing.
"We're excited that she can make it to the games that she can but, you know, it's weird not having Terry around. But the second she steps into a gym of a practice," Houser added. "Everything just changes."
Purdue junior guard Courtney Moses has visited Kix while the Boilermaker assistant has undergone chemotherapy treatments.
"I went up and visited her (Kix) one day when she was getting her treatments and she was to all the other patients a ray of sunshine," Moses said. "She was so encouraging when she went to talk to them. All the people's faces brightened up."
Kix also has the support from the Purdue band. The Boilermaker musicians sport "Team Terry" shirts, which they begin displaying after the Boilers' first basket of the game.
"When they (band members) heard about Terry, they immediately wanted to do something for the kids and for her," Purdue Associate Professor of Bands Dr. Pam Nave said. "So for them (band members), this was their way of saying 'we're here for you, we support you no matter what's going on in your life.' We're there for you. We're family."
Kix noticed the incredibly kind gesture after the first game that the Boilermaker band wore the shirts.
"It was very touching. I teared up," Kix said. "And I made sure I went over and let Pam (Nave), the band director, know how much I really appreciated it. And I blew all the kids kisses."
Watching Purdue women's basketball contend for a Big Ten title helps in Kix's treatment, according to Kis and Purdue Head Coach Sharon Versyp.
"When I text them after the game and I try to relay messages, they know how much I'm thinking about them during the game," Kix added.
"Terry's going through the toughest time right now and she's here," Versyp said. "She wants to be supporting us. So we can't have a down day. We don't need to be fatigued. We don't need to be tired. That really helps, I think, all of us."
"If you can surround yourself with positive energy and positive lifestyle habits," said Kix. "That is the best thing anyone can do for a cancer patient."
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