If you are new to Pollyball, here is a brief history. Polly Hylant-Tracy lost her battle with cancer in 1990. Her husband, three daughters, and family wanted to remember her in a special way, and considered many options, including a memorial bench or planting trees at a Metropark, reflecting her love for the outdoors. As the family pondered, an idea to host a volleyball tournament in her honor, as the large family often played the sport in Polly’s backyard, was realized.
“Pollyball” was born.
What began as a small fun and fund-raising event at the LaJolla beach volleyball courts formerly off Reynolds Road, attracting 20 teams who paid and played on behalf of the American Cancer Society, has grown into the huge event held every August at the beach volleyball courts at International Park.
Over the past 26 years, Pollyball has raised nearly $1,000,000 to support breast cancer detection and awareness programs, including ACS, the YWCA as well as MCO for cancer research, The Victory Center and Reeling and Healing Inc.
The day begins with family friend Phil Barone playing her favorite song, “White Bird,” by It’s A Beautiful Day. The magical and prophetic lyrics set the tone for this unique tribute. Her favorite song ends with, “White bird must fly or she will die.” Polly may have physically left this world, but she can still be found in the actions and eyes of her daughters, Rachel, Lauren and Sarah, and in the hearts of her many family members and friends.
Last year, the Pollyball tournament took place on Saturday, August 19, 2017, and was another incredible day filled with terrific weather, fun volleyball, and camaraderie. Proceeds assist greatly in funding the YWCA program that provides breast health education sessions free of charge to under-served women.
The YWCA of Northwest Ohio’s ENCOREplus Breast Cancer Awareness and Assistance Program is a comprehensive education and breast cancer resource center. Breast health education sessions are provided free of charge to various community agencies, shelters, apartment communities, senior centers, clinics, health fairs, and any other areas where underserved women congregate. Over 1,600 women in the Greater Toledo area were educated on breast cancer early detection methods in 2010.
ENCOREplus also provides connection to no-cost or low-cost mammography through several programs in the area, services to ensure follow-through with mammography include mailing reminder cards, telephone and written contacts, transportation to related appointments, and gift incentives sent to every woman who completes her mammogram. At least 650 women were assisted in getting mammograms through ENCOREplus in 2010.
The unique service that ENCOREplus provides is free intensive case management services to women with abnormal breast symptoms and/or breast cancer diagnosis, regardless of income or any other circumstances. Staff accompanies patients to medical appointments and home visit; provides transportation and linkage to psycho-social programs to address non-medical needs; provides support for the family, and ensures that the patient understands all medical information and treatment options given by healthcare providers.