Gordon State College Softball Team Celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness, National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

Gordon State Softball stand in solidarity to support former Highlander Lacee Landrum as well as family and friends for Breast Cancer Awareness.
Gordon State Softball stand in solidarity to support former Highlander Lacee Landrum as well as family and friends for Breast Cancer Awareness.

By: Brittany A. Tennant, Communications Specialist

At Gordon State College, lessons are learned in the classroom and on the field. For the GSC Softball team, life lessons are an added bonus for the players as a courtesy of head coach Ally Hattermann.

Hattermann is making an impact in the community and the Highlanders when it comes to raising awareness in October for National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month as well as Breast Cancer Awareness Month. 

Hattermann Shares Journey of Multiple Miscarriages Before Marlee

One in four women will lose a baby during pregnancy, delivery or infancy.  World Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is recognized on October 15. According to Star Legacy Foundation, “The #NeverBeStill campaign seeks to break the silence surrounding stillbirth and other pregnancy/infant losses by not only educating the public about ways to support bereaved families but also empowering expectant mothers to have a healthy pregnancy.”

Hattermann shared her own heartbreaking news on October 15 with her softball team, the loss of not one but six miscarriages over her journey to conceive a child. Hattermann has made it her mission since 2011 to share the importance of not only Breast Cancer Awareness Month but National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness. Hattermann shared with the team that she and her husband Doug started trying to have a baby in 2005. After several months of attempting to conceive, Hattermann became pregnant, only to follow it with a miscarriage.Ally hatterman

“Guilt, shame, embarrassment, feeling like I did something wrong, were all feelings that I felt every day,” said Hattermann.  Sadly, having a miscarriage became familiar to Hattermann after multiple pregnancies failed. “I lost faith in God. I was at my lowest of lows, and I would often think, ‘Can I go on living this way?’”

After her sixth miscarriage, Hattermann turned to In vitro fertilization (IVF). After many months of hormone injections and doctors’ visits, Hattermann had 13 viable eggs taken from her ovaries. After further examination and testing, doctors shared the news that only two embryos were promising. On November 14, 2014, two embryos were transferred and one implanted. Days turned into weeks, which turned into months and doctors confirmed that her daughter was successfully growing.

“You wake up every morning wondering if today will be the day there is no heartbeat found in your sonogram or a picture of an empty uterus,” said Hattermann.

At Hattermann’s 37 week check-up, doctors informed her that they needed to induce labor. After a few hours, Hattermann’s miracle baby, Marlee, was brought into the world at five-pounds. “I wouldn’t take anything back after having Marlee,” said Hattermann.

Hattermann says she wants the players on her team to know the importance of extending kindness to everyone they encounter. “Open the door, say hello, compliment someone when they look nice,” she said. “It may mean the difference between life and death.”

Hattermann distributed Pura Vida-Infant Loss Awareness pink and blue bracelets to each player to serve as a daily reminder of the struggles that one-in-four women go through with pregnancy loss.

Hattermann, Players Encourage former Highlander in Breast Cancer Treatment Process

Hattermann is also an advocate for Breast Cancer Awareness. In August 2019 a former GSC softball player, Lacee Landrum was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer at 28-years-old. Landrum played at Gordon from 2009 -2010.lacee landrum

According to the National Breast Cancer Foundation, “One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in her lifetime. There is currently no known cure for breast cancer, and its early diagnosis is critical to survival.”

Landrum attended the GSC Alumni Softball game in September where former players and current players combined for an intrasquad game. Landrum was unable to participate in the game but cheered and bonded with both teams from the sidelines.

“Lacee was one of the toughest players I’ve ever coached,” said Hattermann, who is in her 22nd year of coaching on the collegiate level. “Lacee reached out to me with her diagnosis before she shared it publically. My response was, ‘Tell me it isn’t so.’”  

The current GSC softball team is doing everything they can to support Landrum fighting the statistics while she is going through chemotherapy. Landrum is in the second phase of treatment with weekly rounds of chemotherapy to be followed by surgery.

“I love getting the pictures weekly,” Landrum said. “It’s such a good reminder that no one is in this fight alone and I’m so thankful for the love and support from my Highlander family.”

Each Wednesday during fall softball practice, the team wears pink practice shirts in honor of Landrum. Hattermann sends pictures of the team decked in pink to her for encouragement.

Hattermann created a memory book for Landrum with pictures and words of encouragement from players. She plans to deliver the keepsake book when she sits with Landrum during chemotherapy in honor of the softball team in November.