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Joyful news: Auburn coach Kim Evans is cancer-free

Oct. 3, 2013

Kim Evans rings the "No More Chemo" bell Thursday morning in Birmingham.

By Phillip Marshall

AUBURN, Ala. - As Kim Evans sat in her doctor's office at UAB Medical Center on Thursday morning, she did what she had done and through five long months of brutal chemotherapy treatments.

She prayed for strength.

Evans, Auburn's women's golf coach for 20 years, was diagnosed in May with ovarian cancer. After seeing her team finish sixth in the NCAA Championship in Athens, she began chemothrapy. She underwent a scan on Wednesday, and it was time to know whether the chemotherapy had been effective.

"I got to tell you I had kind of a long wait in the doctor's office," Evans said as she drove back to Auburn. "I was pretty worried that it might have been bad news. My blood tests were good. They did a scan yesterday. I prayed a lot.

"You prepare for the worst so you can handle it and be able to go forward. If the news is great, you just feel a great relief."

Dr. Warner Huh had the best of news. Evans was cancer-free.

"I didn't even cry," Evans said. "I just grinned and hugged my doctor really tight and told him I loved him. I'm still in that take one day at a time mode. I'm going to stay on it for a while. It was just so much fun to call my family and friends.

"Once you learn the news, the past six months don't seem so bad after all."

 Even as friends, family, current and former players, coaches at other schools, co-workers and people she didn't even know rallied around her, there still times of loneliness and despair. And there are more difficult times ahead as she recovers from the debilitating effects of the chemotherapy.

"There has been some lonely times," Evans said. "It's a hard battle. I have so much respect for people who have and have had cancer. Those treatments are tough. I am very anxious to help people. I hope it has made me a better person. I hope it's made me stronger.

"When you go through something like this, you just feel so grateful and thankful that you actually got to this day."

Making it through the hard times, Evans said, wouldn't have been possible without the support of so many from so many places.

"I can't tell you how much support I've had from my Auburn family, our athletic department, (athletics director) Jay Jacobs and (senior women's administrator) Meredith Jenkins, everybody. I've had so much support from family and friends, the golf community, the Auburn family and athletic community.

"I had a great doctor and so many unbelievable friends. I definitely learned some big lessons. It just meant everything to me to get a card or a letter or a mail or a text. It's just amazing how much one text message can lift your spirits."

As the news got back to the Auburn athletic department, the response was one of joy and celebration.

"How awesome was that?" Jenkins said. "She's an unbelievable fighter. I had no doubt she would beat this. This is just the best news we could possibly have. I know she's going to come back harder than ever.

"I almost can't put it into words. I'm so happy for her and for us. She has meant so much to so many people and so much to me."

Evans hopes to gradually spend more time at her job. She hopes to be back fulltime by the spring golf season. But her next goal is to go to Jordan-Hare Stadium on Saturday for Auburn's football game against Ole Miss.

"I probably won't be able to see the whole game," Evans said, "but I sure would like to walk by tailgates and watch the kickoff and enjoy it."


Phillip Marshall is a Senior Writer for Follow Marshall on Twitter:




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