The Dallas Mavericks hosted an EmPOWERment Tour with Kay Yow Cancer Fund to change the narrative around all cancers affecting women by educating the next generation. Since the Fund’s inception, $8.28 million has been awarded to scientific research grants and programs that serve the underserved in the fight against ALL cancers affecting women.
Dallas Mavericks players Dwight Powell and Dereck Lively II and Dallas Wings player Odyssey Sims made a special appearance to share their experiences with a loved one. Student athletes from Paul Quinn College, Southern Methodist University and the University of Texas at Arlington attended the event.
“We are so excited to partner with the Dallas Mavericks, as we have a shared passion to build stronger communities by empowering youth, women and families in need,” said Jenny Palmateer, CEO of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. “With Play4Kay, the Fund’s national grassroots movement in sport, and the Mavs dedication to build stronger communities, it seemed only logical to join forces to make an impact in the fight against cancer together.”
Lively II talked about his mother Kathy Drysdale and the decade-long battle she fought with cancer. He was met with thunderous applause when he spoke about him and his mother receiving a call he will never forget, that she was cancer free. His mother was in attendance and she kept smiling as she was extremely proud of her son.
“I think this definitely makes it that much more important to realize how vulnerable you have to be for people to understand your situation. Being able to know that, once you’re vulnerable it allows other people to put themselves in your shoes. We’re all human. We all have ups and downs, we all have problems, we all have people going through it.” Lively II stated after the event.
Powell spoke about his mother Jacqueline Weir and how much the number seven on his jersey means to him, as it is a visual representation of his connection with mom.
His mother passed away from breast cancer in 2012. She never told him she was sick because she didn’t want him worried about her. Powell has created the Dwight Powell Children and Family Support Fund w/ UT Southwestern Simmons Comprehensive Cancer Center.
“I love the game of basketball. It’s provided me far more than I could ever imagine. It’s my passion but this sort of thing eclipses that in such a way that can’t be described. This is so much more important. These conversations are what it’s all about. It is bigger than basketball. These moments for me are far more important than what goes on between lines.” Dwight Powell stated after the event.
Sims spoke about her friend Tiffany Jackson-Jones, who passed away from breast cancer in 2022. Jackson-Jones was an assistant coach at the University of Texas and former WNBA player. Sims educated students with the information and tools they need to address to break down barriers, beginning with their own friends and families.
The students participated in a poll for what they think is the top barrier when it comes to cancer. The top response voted was fear. One out of every three women will be diagnosed with cancer.
The EmPOWERment tour helps acknowledge disparities exist, discuss ways to break down barriers, and provide information about available resources pertaining to cancer prevention, treatment, and survivorship.
“The Dallas Mavericks have long supported Breast Cancer Awareness and all issues critical to women and girls,” said Dallas Mavericks Chief Impact Officer Katie Edwards. “As part of our partnership with the Dallas Wings, we are excited to launch this new series with Kay Yow to help empower young women across our region as advocates for women’s health.”
To listen to Powell and Lively II speak about their loved ones, click the video below.