Chapin community works to raise money for beloved basketball coach diagnosed with cancer

Chapin community works to raise money for beloved basketball coach diagnosed with cancer
Eagles head coach Mark Snelgrove poses with his players. (Source: Chapin High School basketball team)

CHAPIN, S.C. (WIS) - November is Pancreatic Cancer Awareness Month and it’s a cause recently brought into the spotlight by Alex Trebek, who is battling stage four pancreatic cancer.

There is also a beloved high school basketball coach in the Midlands, now in the same battle.

Mark Snelgrove, has been the head basketball coach for Chapin High School for the past four years. His coaching career dates back decades.

In October, Snelgrove was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. For the Chapin High School basketball team, the fight to win now goes beyond the courts.

“We fight for him every day,” Maddux Harrell, team captain of the Eagles’ varsity boys’ basketball team, said. “He’s like a second father to me. You know he’s just a very good guy, he welcomed me with open arms.”

Harrell tragically lost his sister in the summer. He said Snelgrove was there for him every step of the way.

“I’ve called Coach Snelgrove multiple times just to talk to him because every second counts,” Harrell said. “So just being able to see him is amazing because he’s going to fight for us and we’re going to fight for him.”

Eagles head coach Mark Snelgrove poses with his players.
Eagles head coach Mark Snelgrove poses with his players. (Source: Chapin High School basketball team)

Many gathered in the gymnasium of Chapin High on Friday evening to watch the boys and girls varsity basketball team play each other for a fundraiser scrimmage.

After Snelgrove was diagnosed with cancer, parents and students made it their mission to raise money for the beloved coach.

“We’re just trying to make sure that he has everything he needs so we’re just going to keep fighting for him as long as he’s fighting, too,” Austin Smith, co-captain of the Chapin varsity basketball team said. “I just really wasn’t expecting it. It definitely hurt. I mean, he’s influenced me a lot through basketball and through life.”

Friday’s scrimmage cost $5 for parents to get in and $2 for students. All proceeds were donated to Coach Snelgrove’s medical funds.

Melinda Snelgrove, Mark’s wife said they are so grateful for the community support.

“The amount of support and love that has just been pouring out to us is just amazing. It’s overwhelming and very humbling,” Snelgrove said. “I hope to thank everyone individually, but collectively, from the depths of both our hearts we are so so grateful.”

She said the past month has been “difficult.”

“We have to be supportive and we put on a brave face but there is the fear. Always the fear there. And it was so unexpected,” Snelgrove said.

Snelgrove said they take it day by day and rely on their faith to get them through it.

As the fight has just begun, Snelgrove’s players said they are going to support him through the journey.

“He’s going to fight through it and we’re going to be here to support him every step of the way,” Harrell said.

Paula Cobb, Harrell’s mother created a GoFundMe page to help with medical bills.

If you’d like to donate, click here.

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