Celebrating survival over breast cancer


Crestview volleyball coach Kathy Combest holds up a T-shirt given to her by the Freeport volleyball team Monday that recognizes her battle with breast cancer.

RANDY DICKSON / News Bulletin
Published: Tuesday, October 8, 2013 at 05:44 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Against the backdrop of a Crestview High School gym decorated in pink for Breast Cancer Awareness Night, Kathy Combest raised her hands in victory before the first point was played in Monday’s volleyball match between Crestview and visiting Freeport.

The home Crestview Bulldogs would go on to beat the visiting Freeport Bulldogs in straight sets, but volleyball took a backseat to a celebration of life.

Combest has been breast cancer-free for five years. She wanted to celebrate her milestone and that of other women who have fought and won the battle with the deadly disease while honoring women who have breast cancer or have died from it.

Combest was joined in her celebration by her family, friends from across the Baker and Crestview communities, and her surgeon, Dr. Sandra Hanson of Fort Walton Beach. Holt Volunteer Fire Department members also were on hand to sell T-shirts with the words, “strength, courage and perseverance” on the back to help raise money to fight breast cancer.

“That fight right there (against breast cancer) is tough,” she said. For me to be able to come back and to still do what I love to do — coach — is a blessing for me.

It was no accident that Freeport was Monday’s opponent. Combest was coaching at Baker when she was diagnosed with cancer. She said on her team’s first trip to Freeport after she was told she had the disease Freeport coach Tina Knight and her team supported her with flowers and T-shirts

“Her (Knight’s) whole team was just devastated by what I was having to go through and it was so supportive,” Combest said. “I wanted her to be here for my five years because she was her for my beginning (of the battle with cancer).”

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