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Baylor community supports beloved softball coach fighting cancer for 4th time

Mark Lumley was recently diagnosed with cancer for the fourth time. So, the community held a parade by his house in support.

WACO, Texas — Inside Getterman Stadium, you can see the impact Mark Lumley has had on the Baylor softball program.

As a hitting coach, Lumley is a big part of the offensive attack, which has gotten the Lady Bears to four Women's College World Series.

"We've been together for 22 years," Head Coach Glenn Moore said. "He's closer than a brother to me."

Lumley is a fighter. He has been since he moved to Waco from Baton Rouge with Moore in June 2000 and beat cancer three times.

Now, he's working to beat it a fourth time.

"This is coming off a radiation treatment on a lesion on his vertebrae a few weeks ago," Moore said.

Lumley missed Baylor's trip to Houston and Gainesville, FL at what became the end of a coronavirus-shortened season, because of the treatment.

After he'd had trouble breathing, he went back to the doctor and found out he had cancer in the lymph nodes near his neck. Because of it, he struggles to speak.

"Initially they thought it was allergies, and then later found out that cancer has returned," Moore said. "This is his fourth cancer and, you know, he's just a fighter, he's a winner. But it's difficult to see him challenged with such adversity."

But Lumley couldn't be around his good friend, Moore, or the players the pair had helped recruit to Baylor because the campus shut down shortly before Lumley's diagnosis. So, a friend of both Moore and Lumley started organizing a parade to show their support, expecting 100 cares.

Two hundred showed up, Moore estimated, totaling what he said was close to 1,000 people who drove past the Lumley's house to show their support.

Some of those who participated were current and former players who drove as far as two hours. This includes Kyla Walker, who drove with her family from Franklin to see Coach Lumley.

"Ashley Marchand and Reagan Green were in it," Moore said.

Some others who showed support were fellow members of the Baylor athletic staff, including athletic director Mack Rhoades and men's basketball coach Scott Drew.

The whole scene was emotional for Lumley and his wife. It even affected Moore.

"I couldn't look him in the eye when I drove past his house," Moore said. "I don't cry a whole lot but my eyes were watering."

Now the community is gathering around Lumley as he's done for hundreds of players who entered the Getterman Stadium dugouts.

"He's an emotional guy, anyway," Moore said. "But boy, this broke him down pretty good. To see the turnout from the communities and people we didn't even know 20 years ago, I told my family after the parade, 'There wasn't a single person in that parade we knew 20 years ago,' And they were all there for him because they know what kind of man he is."

His family and teammates said thank you to everyone who offered a helping hand in this unprecedented time of social distancing.

"There's no better place to be than Central Texas when you're going through the hardships Mark and Stacey are right now," Moore said. "So, I want to say thank you to this area."

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