Debbie Yow Announces ‘Play4Kay’ Campaign During National Agents Alliance Kickoff in Raleigh, N.C.

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Debbie Yow is very proud to be the sister of the late Kay Yow, the long-time women’s basketball coach at North Carolina State University. Yow, who spoke during National Agents Alliance’s “Be Your Own Rock Star” Version 2.0 National Convention kickoff ceremony on Jan. 27, said her sister’s long battle against cancer was a shining example of persistency in work and in your personal life no matter what you face.

Debbie Yow Speaking at National Agents Alliance Conference

Debbie Yow Speaking at National Agents Alliance Conference

Dealing with life and death is not exactly what you deal with on a day-to-day basis. Losing a sale is not the same thing as dying. I wanted to tell you that for persistence. I wanted to tell you that for prayer. Some things are bigger than us.

Debbie Yow is very proud to be the sister of the late Kay Yow, the long-time women’s basketball coach at North Carolina State University.

Yow, who spoke during National Agents Alliance’s “Be Your Own Rock Star” Version 2.0 National Convention kickoff ceremony on Jan. 27, said her sister’s long battle against cancer was a shining example of persistency in work and in your personal life no matter what you face.

Now, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Pink Zone is rebranding a series of NCAA women’s college basketball games from Feb. 10-20 as a celebration of Yow, who died on Jan. 24, 2009, titled “Play4Kay.”

Each February, NCAA women’s basketball teams wear pink uniforms and shoes to support breast cancer awareness. It was previously called “Hoops4Hope.” The initiative was started in 2007, and the Kay Yow Cancer Fund will continue to be the official charity of the initiative.

“That reinforced in my mind the impact that (Kay’s) persistence had had on thousands and thousands of people,” Debbie Yow said. “People she never knew, people she was never going to know, but it meant something to them and I think it’s an encouragement because of the emotional tie to them.”

Debbie Yow decided it was time to return home to take the job as the Wolfpack’s Director of Athletics after her sister’s death. She had been in the same position at Maryland for 16 years, where her teams won 20 national titles during her tenure.

“My sister died and that’s when I came home,” Yow, who is from Gibsonville, N.C., told the National Agents Alliance in Raleigh, N.C. “Life is full of seasons and it was time for me to come home.”

In 1987, Debbie Yow was in her first administrative job at Florida when Kay was first diagnosed with cancer. It was serious and required a Modified Rapid Mastectomy.

The late Yow was supposed to coach the United States women’s basketball team in the Olympics, so she went ahead with the surgery, even against her sister’s wishes.

“It upset me but she decided to do that,” Yow said. “She won the gold that next summer.”

Through the years, Kay Yow’s cancer kept reoccurring time after time. She tried all sorts of treatments, had people praying and just kept pressing on for more than 20 years.

“I tell you this not because it’s a sad story, it’s really a terrific story of persistence,” Yow told National Agents Alliance crowd. “Dealing with life and death is not exactly what you deal with on a day-to-day basis. Losing a sale is not the same thing as dying. I wanted to tell you that for persistence. I wanted to tell you that for prayer. Some things are bigger than us. I know that in my life there are things that are bigger than me.”

Yow told the thousands in attendance there will always be problems in life if you are living and breathing. Overcoming obstacles is just part of life, she said. Yow urged the group to take things one day at a time, have a specific plan, work hard and smart, be creative and do something you are passionate about.

“Be Persistent,” she said. “Never give up, Jimmy Valvano was so big on saying that and ESPN reminds us of that every year with his last speech. A fund for my sister’s foundation was set up for her inside the Jimmy V Foundation; they were very close so we wanted it set up that way.”

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