JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - “I like to see myself as a fighter. It’s just going to be another ball game, another basketball game. Four quarters, we’re gonna win.”
That was Gina Bell back in April, just days after receiving her cancer diagnosis. Now, just over six months later? The St. Martin head coach may have executed her finest game plan to date.
“I finished surgery, everything came out well," Bell told WLOX. "There’s no sign of cancer. We’re gonna do radiation as a precaution, I’m gonna start that this month and it will last anywhere from four to six weeks. Then, after that I am finished. Game won!”
After a grueling stretch of chemo and surgery at MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Bell is back on the job, bringing a huge sigh of relief to the Yellow Jackets.
“We were excited,” St. Martin senior guard Chelsey Washington said. “Coach Hilliard told us the good news and we just started screaming. It was such a relief.”
“I missed these kids," Bell said. "They probably don’t believe it, but I do. These are my babies, I missed them. I love being back, they’re working hard, it’s fun to be here. I think this is going to make me get well even quicker.”
While Bell battled through the fight for her life, the St. Martin community rallied behind her every step of the way - emotionally and financially.
“My school family - and it really is a family - they have been absolutely amazing," Bell said. "My family at home, they’ve stepped up. It’s just made me more appreciative for what I have.”
Bell’s first week back on the job comes just days before the Yellow Jackets tip off their 2018 campaign. Now, doctors' orders may have her deferring to her assistants a little more this year, but don’t worry. That fiery Coach Bell approach isn’t going anywhere.
“I’ll have to be a little bit more still, won’t be able to holler as much, but it’s gonna be good.”
When asked if the thinks she can handle that?
“No," Bell laughed.