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High schools: Win-Win Week takes on new meaning for Amy Cassell

When Cassell and Von Allen, the director of development at the Stephenson Cancer Center, formed Win-Win Week four years ago with the goal of showcasing cancer awareness and prevention among high school students, Cassell had not been affected by cancer. Now, the cause is personal.
by Jacob Unruh Published: September 18, 2013
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photo - Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens, center, speaks Monday at Norman High School during the Oklahoma Students Care
Heisman Trophy winner Steve Owens, center, speaks Monday at Norman High School during the Oklahoma Students Care "Win-Win Week" announcement as, from left, First Lady Kim Henry, Heisman Trophy winners Billy Sims and Jason White, and Amy Cassell, assistant director of the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association, listen. ORG XMIT: KOD

Losing was never really an option for Amy Cassell.

So when her father-in-law lost his battle with cancer in January, emotions ran wild for her.

“This is the girl who never thought I was going to lose a game either, but I did,” said Cassell, a former coach who is now an assistant director at the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.

“It's unacceptable to me for there not to be an answer, so that's kind of my mission right now. It's not OK to get that answer that there isn't anything we can do for you.”

Ed Cassell was diagnosed in December with terminal cancer and doctors gave him six to seven months. He died in January at 84.

When Amy Cassell and Von Allen, the director of development at the Stephenson Cancer Center, formed Win-Win Week four years ago with the goal of showcasing cancer awareness and prevention among high school students, Cassell had not been affected by cancer.

Now, the cause is personal.

“I would say that in the past it has been all about the service-learning aspect and teaching kids a very important educational lesson that we're here to care about one another and we need to do that,” Cassell said. “Now this year I think my perspective is still the same in that regard. I still think that piece is very important, but now I have felt first hand the devastation that cancer imposes on a family and how hurtful and how just sad it is to watch someone suffer through this disease.

“My mission has been added just really working hard to do whatever we can to try to beat this thing.”

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by Jacob Unruh
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Jacob Unruh is a graduate of Northeastern State University. He was born in Cherokee and raised near Vera where he attended Caney Valley High School.During his tenure at NSU, Unruh wrote for The Northeastern (NSU's student newspaper), the...
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