Alyssa Cavanaugh finds match for bone marrow donation

Outside hitter Alyssa Cavanaugh (7), spikes the ball against UTEP earning a point for the Lady Toppers on Fri. Oct. 20, 2017 at Diddle Arena. 

Jeremy Chisenhall

Former WKU volleyball star Alyssa Cavanaugh has found a match for her bone marrow donation after being diagnosed with cancer: her father. 

Cavanaugh’s father, Eric Cavanaugh, is a strong enough match as a relative that he is the best option for the transplant, Cavanaugh’s mother said in a message posted to Twitter on Tuesday. 

“It only makes sense that it would end up this way,” Leslie Cavanaugh said in the message. “For those of you that personally know Alyssa and Eric, you must know how alike they are. Their competitiveness, athleticism, the ‘I’m not here to talk about my feelings’ …they are literally the same person.”

{{tncms-inline account=”Leslie Cavanaugh” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">A little unprepared for answering questions regarding Alyssa’s donor. 100% positive her dad wasn’t expecting this. getting tons of texts, hope this sheds some light on what transpired <a href="">#win124</a> <a href="">#ibelieveinalyssacavanaugh</a> <a href=""></a></p>— Leslie Cavanaugh (@lcavanaugh922) <a href="">January 15, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”″ type=”twitter”}}

Cavanaugh announced that she was diagnosed with cancer on Sept. 6. Since then, WKU Athletics has held a bone marrow donation drive and supported Cavanaugh’s cause in trying to find a donor. WKU volleyball head coach Travis Hudson even offered to pay a semester of a WKU student’s tuition if there was a student who was a match

“Anybody who’s ever dealt with a cancer diagnosis knows that there’s nothing more powerful than hope,” Hudson said Tuesday. “This gives her great hope for her future … hopefully this is another step in the right direction.”

Leslie Cavanaugh also shared in her message that Alyssa Cavanaugh’s cancer was not in remission after three rounds of chemotherapy, though it did respond. The doctors ideally want it to be in remission before going to transplant, and they’ll try immunotherapy, she said.

Cavanaugh’s teammate, Jessica Lucas, shared the news to Twitter on Tuesday. The WKU community shared support and excitement. 

{{tncms-inline account=”Jessica Lucas” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">God is amazing 😭🖤 <a href=""></a></p>— Jessica Lucas (@JessicaMoLucas) <a href="">January 15, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”″ type=”twitter”}}

{{tncms-inline account=”T Ho11ingsworth” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">that man upstairs is somethin special ❤️🙏🏾 <a href=""></a></p>— T Ho11ingsworth (@Lil_Tay3) <a href="">January 15, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”″ type=”twitter”}}

{{tncms-inline account=”WKU Volleyball” html=”<blockquote class="twitter-tweet"><p lang="en" dir="ltr">We are absolutely ecstatic to share the news that <a href="">@cavanaugh7</a> has found a bone marrow donor match!<a href="">#Win124</a> | <a href="">#IBelieveInAlyssaCavanaugh</a> <a href=""></a></p>— WKU Volleyball (@WKUVolleyball) <a href="">January 15, 2019</a></blockquote>” id=”″ type=”twitter”}}

Leslie Cavanaugh said in her message posted to Twitter that Eric Cavanaugh would join their daughter at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital in two weeks for pre-transplant testing. 

Digital managing editor Jeremy Chisenhall can be reached at 270-745-6291 and [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at @JSChisenhall.