Crowley community rallies around volleyball coach diagnosed with cancer


CROWLEY, Texas (CBSDFW.COM) — The Crowley Lady Eagles volleyball team is determined to serve up their first playoff appearance since 2007. And this season, it’s more important than ever that they hold nothing back. 

“Enjoy the moments with people because you don’t know when the last day is. People say that, but they don’t really take it in,” Crowley High School junior Jasmine Quinn said.

Junior Cienna Rodriguez agrees, saying, “a lot of people say that, but really mean it. Just take in every moment that you have.” 

It’s not a perspective a teenager usually has, but their pink shoe laces are representative of the fact that they’ve been forced to grow up quickly. Their head coach Caroline Bruder entered this season by sharing some news with the girls that has forever changed their lives. 

“Last year, I was diagnosed with stage 4 cancer and kind of didn’t tell anybody,” Bruder admitted. “May came around and we finally told them and they had the whole summer to process.” 

A summer to process that the coach they know and love has cancer that has spread to her liver, lungs, and bones. 

Despite having a survival rate of six months to three years, Bruder is not afraid.

“Before I thought that I had all the time in the world. Now, I don’t know if I have all the time in the world,” she shared. “In reality, knowing has helped me be more present than if I didn’t know.” 

On and off the court, her players think about it as well.

“It’s really scary thinking about not knowing the time length of it,” Quinn said. “It’s really hard.”

But not only is Bruder getting support from her family and volleyball players, she’s also getting support from their opponents.

Whether it be the supportive hashtag from Burleson, the flower arrangement from Weatherford, or the group team photo with Boswell High, it’s clear what coach Bruder means to the entire community. 

“You don’t know how appreciated you are to other people, until something like this happens,” she said.

As for Bruder’s volleyball girls, they believe their mission will allow nothing to stand in their way.

“The whole team has a real reason to really fight this year. We want to make it to playoffs for her,” Quinn said. “We all remind each other why we’re here and what we’re doing this for. For her.”