Last February, ESPN reporter Holly Rowe announced that, for the second time in less than a year, doctors had discovered a tumor in her chest that needed to be removed immediately.
Since then, Rowe has continued to appear regularly on ESPN, even as she undergoes rounds of chemotherapy every 21 days.
“When I say sports have saved my life, I’m not saying that as a joke or lightly,” she said. “It’s given me things to look forward to and every single event I get to, someone is winning or losing.”
Rowe tells of flying from Tuscaloosa, Alabama to Salt Lake City and then to Morgantown, West Virginia in the span or two days, all because she wanted to cover a Utah gymnastics meet.
She is currently covering the women’s NCAA Tournament this season for the 12th time and will require treatment right in the middle of it. When Rowe feels scared or upset about her impending treatment, she told The Salt Lake Tribune, she cues up a highlight reel of the UConn women’s basketball team making hustle plays.
When Rowe was at a recent UConn women’s basketball practice, she saw a pregame video that showcased 20 years worth of hustle plays by the Huskies. UConn, winners of 107 consecutive games and on a quest for a fifth straight national title, sent Rowe the clip. When the fear of another upcoming chemo session sets in, she watches that clip to empower herself.
Rowe’s dedication to sports even during an incredibly trying ordeal is reminiscent of the late Craig Sager, who was jetting from event to event long into his battle with leukemia.
It’s genuinely awesome that Rowe, like Sager, is able to find strength in her job, and hopefully sports help inspire her to a full recovery.