CHICAGO - Professional beach volleyball player April Ross met with some young Chicago student athletes who had helped raise money to find a cure for breast cancer.
Players from volleyball teams from Richards High School and DePaul University earned a meet-and-greet with Ross - a two-time Olympic medalist - this week after they had raised money for Side-Out Foundation, which funds breast cancer research.
The young players were very excited.
"Everyone knows who she is and idolizes her, so it's like everyone is like fan girls," said Sara Murczek, a Richards junior.
"I think it's just been motivating for our team to be at the beginning of our season and meet someone who's done so much and been so successful in her sport," said DePaul junior Haley Bueser.
For Ross, who is in Chicago for the AVP Tour at Oak Street Beach, said raising money for breast cancer is an important issue for her. Her mother battled the disease for 15 years before she died on Sept. 11, 2001.
"It was relentless and we thought that several times she went into remission where we thought she was cured of it, and then it would come back even stronger. It was just devastating," Ross said. "I'm impressed by every team that shows up in their pink shirts and tells me 'We raised this amount of money and we're going to do even more next year.' It just makes me prouder to be a part of this."