Rowan University's Erin Redmond A Leader And An Inspiration

Matt Leon
April 22, 2018 - 4:55 pm
Rowan's Erin Redmond

Credit - Rowan Athletics

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) -- It all started with kidney stones.

Erin Redmond was a freshman lacrosse player at Division III Rowan University down in Glassboro, New Jersey when she had to be taken to the emergency room because of the stones in January of 2015.

"I had a CAT scan done," Redmond tells KYW Newsradio. "They wanted to see where the stones were and then they found a mass on my ovary. The pathologist at the hospital thought it was just a benign mass and that it would go away. So I was told to follow up with my own doctor a few months later."

She did in April and then it was discovered that the mass had grown.

"From there they scheduled an emergency surgery in April," Redmond says, "and then two weeks later was when we found out that it was ovarian cancer."

Stage one ovarian cancer that was caught early enough that she didn't require chemotherapy, but she did require a second surgery about a month later.

"Being 18 and being in the middle of my very first lacrosse season in college, it was very jarring," she says. "My coach told me, 'You don't say 'why me?' You say, 'Okay, what's next and what do I do next?' So that was the mindset that I had through my coach, through my family and my support system and we just went from there."

That coach is Lindsay Delaney who remembers the day that Redmond told her about the cancer.

"I'm looking at her like, 'Oh heavens, you are an 18-year-old baby, we need to get you somewhere quiet and alone so you can tell me what's going on,'" Delaney tells KYW Newsradio. "I just said, 'Okay, go home, deal with it and we'll take it a step at a time.' And that's all you can do. Just take it a step at a time, let's not get too big and let's just figure out how to handle this from here."

That next season, in the aftermath of the surgeries and follow up tests, Redmond did not play, but she was still a part of the team.

"When she came back her sophomore year, she took on a different role," Delaney says. "Like being a student coach. She worked with the goalkeepers and she jumped in scenarios where we needed extra players and some hands on deck."

The plan was that Redmond would return to action as a junior. However it wasn't very far into fall workouts that year that it became obvious that everything had taken a toll on her and she wasn't able to keep up.

"(Coach Delaney) came to me," Redmond says, "(She said) 'Listen, we can clearly see it. It's just not going to happen. So you can either walk away or obviously what we would want you to do is stay and you can have a completely different role on the team. It will be up to you.' So of course I took the day, I was completely emotional, but I decided that where I should be was with the team." 

So she remained a member of the team, although she wouldn't play, and she immediately began to thrive in her new role.

"I started to become more of a leader as an underclassman," she says. "I was pulling underclassmen and upperclassmen (aside), helping them with things at practice or motivating people during the game. So my leadership role switched from on the field to off the field and it almost felt like it was a better fit for me and it was something that I could really roll with. And my coach had complete confidence in me that I could do that."

She eventually was named a team captain for this season and Delaney says it is not hard to understand why.

"She sits in the bleachers and watches (the team) lift," Delaney says. "She comes to meetings with paper and pen. She's not playing, she's not watching herself in film, but she's there to help and support. It makes everybody else more accountable for their own actions. So inadvertently she made the team accountable and then they helped her heal and she helped them get stronger."

Now prior to all this, Redmond had played in a handful of games in her first year with the Profs, but it truly looked like that would be the extent of her college playing career. Until last weekend.

"So we had an event this past Saturday, it was our 'Family and friends' day," Redmond says. "We have a big barbecue, everyone's family comes so my whole family was already there. A few days prior, coach came to me and said, 'You can dress and if we get in (the right) situation, I can put you in towards the end of the game.' And I was like, 'Alright, sure. That's fine!'"

Redmond did get into the game for the final few minutes of a win over Ramapo.

"It was surreal," she says. "Being on the field with them . . was kind of cool to do it again. Even if it was just a few minutes, it was still great to have."

Redmond's time with the program is coming to a close. She is an academic senior who is getting ready to focus on a teaching career.

"I have done so much here and everyone here has done so much for me," she says.

Delaney is incredibly proud of the impact Redmond has made.

"I can't stop smiling when people say her name," she says. "We know that she's been part of us. We know that we're a product of her and she's a product of us. She makes us stronger."

Rowan will play Rutgers-Camden on Tuesday night in a game dedicated to Ovarian Cancer Awareness. For more information on that, click here. http://www.tealwalk.org/fundraiser/ruwlax

You can follow Matt on Twitter @Mattleon1060.