WDBJ7 Sports Reporter
5:58 PM EST, February 7, 2013
Sports are often a metaphor for life; overcoming adversity, conquering challenges.
As the Virginia Tech softball team begins its season Friday those metaphors are in the thoughts of players, Courtney and Bailey Liddle.
The mom of the two sisters is fighting a deadly disease, and an entire campus community is fighting alongside them.
"Hokie nation rose up around us," Courtney Liddle said.
The diamond is a workplace. And for Courtney and Bailey Liddle, an escape.
"They try to be strong, they try to be tough. They don't bring it to the ballfield. A lot of times this is their getaway," Virginia Tech assistant softball coach Barb Sherwood said.
As the girls grew up around the game, their parents, Biff and Susan, lived with the unknowns of breast cancer. The disease first struck Susan in 1998, but returned as Stage IV in 2009.
"She has never given up. She never just says, 'Oh, well there's nothing we can do.' I've never heard my mom say that,” Courtney Liddle said.
Stage IV is a cruel disease with no cure. As it spreads throughout Susan's body, doctors try drug after drug, hoping one will stabilize the cancer; hold it at bay a little longer.
"I mean some people find a drug that works for 20 years. I'm still hoping for that," Susan Liddle said.
Bailey Liddle said, "Towards the end of the summer we found out that the most recent treatment that had been working for about a year stopped working. So they put her on a new treatment and that never started working."
Courtney Liddle: "You have no power to change it. You have no power to find a treatment that's going to work. At that moment you just have to cling to people around you and pray that the Lord is going to take over."
After this latest setback the people around Courtney and Bailey have never been more important.
They asked Virginia Tech athletes and coaches, some of the biggest names on campus, to deliver messages of encouragement to their mom.
Those names include Kyle Fuller, Logan Thomas, and Andrew Rash.
"If there is ever anything I can do, please let me know," Andrew said in the video.
Bailey Liddle: "They all wanted to talk to their teammates, get everybody involved just to get as much support for my mom as possible."
The video became a Christmas present the family will never forget.
"We got about a minute into the video and that was the end of that," Biff Liddle said.
Susan Liddle: "I've been trying to diminish how much the cancer affects them. And they put it front and center."
Even during her most difficult treatments, Susan and Biff made it to practically every game. Susan would sometimes have to watch from the car in this parking lot to protect her ravaged immune system. But she was there. And as another season begins, and more drugs and more treatments await, that is exactly where she'll be.
"The beauty of it is that Susan is still here, able to watch her girls play. She's still battling on. I think that you see that from the girls from a competitive standpoint too," Virginia Tech head coach Scot Thomas said.
Susan Liddle: "You don't want to make it bigger than it is. Because otherwise it effects you negatively. Life is too valuable."
Courtney and Bailey say they draw their strength, their power, from their mom. Susan in turn has been inspired by her daughters, and by all those that have reached out.
"I just can't say enough what it meant to me. I just hope God blesses your life the way he's blessed mine. Thank you very much," Susan Liddle said.
The video has more than 4,000 views on Youtube. Susan has received countless letters and Facebook messages offering additional support.
Click here to watch the YouTube video.
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