Local Coaches Surprise Mom on Breast Cancer Awareness Night

By Matt Tritten | mtritten@kq2.com

Published 01/24 2014 09:49PM

Updated 01/24 2014 11:49PM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A regular season meeting between St. Joseph Christian and DeKalb took on a little more meaning Thursday night. Brothers Dru and Clay Linebach met on the basketball court for the first time as head coaches.

"It's a quick switch," Clay said. "And it goes from you're my brother and I love you to now I'm going to try to kick your butt."

But the first "Linebach Bowl" became more special when they surprised their mother Shelby with a pink basketball signed by both teams on Breast Cancer Awareness Night at St. Joe Christian.

"I had no idea until they walked in and they said 'Surprise!' and I see everybody in pink," Shelby said.

It was a big anniversary for Shelby Linebach. She was diagnosed with stage two breast cancer last January.

"When I told them, I probably will never forget the looks on their faces," Shelby said looking back on the moment she told her sons. "It was a shock to all of us."

The initial thought when hearing the diagnosis shook the family.

"You hear the word cancer and it's a death sentence -- that's what most people think," Shelby said.

"You immediately think the worst when that happens, but after you get over that initial shock of thinking the worst, it's all support from there," Dru said.

The Linebach's already lost a grandma and an aunt to breast cancer on their father's side, so they're driven to beat it this time.

"Unfortunately we haven't beat it before, so this was kind of our rally cry," Clay said. "Enough's enough. We need to finally get behind it full force and actually take it on as a whole team rather than just a whole person."

The Linebach team took on over 100 more people Thursday night as fans from St. Joe Christian and DeKalb donned pink, and players for each team shaved their heads. It's a tribute to a woman that's battled the odds.

"She's one of the strongest ladies, if not the strongest lady I've ever met going through this battle," Dru said. "Never had a bad day, or didn't show she had a bad day. She had several bad days I'm sure, but it never crossed her mind."

Now after going through the toughest year of her life, Shelby Linebach's putting a positive spin on the situation.

"For a horrible bad experience that its been, it's probably brought our family closer together."

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