We Serve First Foundation sponsoring three players’ attendance at national volleyball camp

Tuesday, June 5, 2018 | 7:54 PM

Ellen and Tim Toy found strength through volleyball during Ellen's years-long battle with cancer, and the sport continues to serve as a way to honor her legacy after her death.

The We Serve First Foundation, created in 2015 as Ellen Toy battled stomach cancer — the former Kiski Area, Leechburg and Plum girls volleyball coach died in February 2016 — is sponsoring three Alle-Kiski volleyball players and a coach as they attend a Give It Back Foundation camp in late July in Anaheim, Calif.

In a nod to Toy's three coaching stops, Plum's Makayla Jackson, Leechburg's McKenna Pierce and Kiski Area's Cassie Shoupe will attend the camp, which is hosted by current and former members of the U.S. National Team. Plum coach Kelsey Bonk also will attend.

“We've lived this situation out in a public way with (Ellen's) struggles, and we thought it only fair to (set up the foundation) as we wound down through the last days,” said Tim Toy, Ellen's widower. “People took to the idea of the foundation. It got a lot of support from friends and family and people around the country.”

Camp costs $289 and is supported by the foundation, which also has a GoFundMe page for donations to support this venture and others located at https://www.gofundme.com/um4uxs.

Ellen Toy battled gastric cancer for more than six years, stepping aside for a time before returning after having a gastrectomy to remove her stomach. Kiski Area's “Jam the Gym” fundraiser began in 2010 as Toy and assistant Jaime Vick Moran battled cancer; Vick Moran died from complications due to leukemia.

Jam the Gym also helped create a bond with the U.S. National Team. Ellen and Tim Toy traveled to watch them play in Anaheim and Omaha, Neb., before Ellen's death. Tim Toy went to the Summer 2016 Olympics in Rio, Brazil, to support the team after Ellen's death.

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