WOODS CROSS -- This week's softball game at Woods Cross High School was unlike any other played during their softball season.
This time, the school's varsity softball team wasn't just fighting to win; they were fighting for others to live.
The girls have become painfully aware of the stark realities of life, as their former head coach has had to undergo weekly chemotherapy treatments to keep his bone marrow cancer at bay. But that doesn't stop 49-year-old Steve Drott from participating in something he loves.
After coaching high school softball for 19 years, it's in his blood -- something Drott won't give up easily, even with the blood cells fighting against him in his body. He has decided to go forward with his life despite his struggle with the disease and fight a new kind of game against blood cells.
Last year, Drott proposed a game like no other to the varsity team.
"Let's call it a red and white blood cell game, with all the proceeds going to fight blood cancers," said Drott. Each team would represent red or white blood cells.
The softball team latched onto the idea immediately, and it was successful in raising $6,000 last year. That was enough impetus to do it again this year.
This time the teams -- Woods Cross High and Skyline High -- called themselves the erythrocytes, the formal name for red blood cells, and the leukocytes, the official term for white blood cells.
This year, the Woods Cross team raised $3,500, just in donations from students and teachers before game day. The school hopes to raise $5,000, in total donations, to give to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.
Though the game is ultimately about raising money for blood cell cancers, it's more than just about money, said Drott.
"I have good and bad days, but the alternative is not being here. I choose to fight it, which is one of the reasons why I'm here," said Drott, who also teaches biology, zoology and marine biology at Woods Cross High School.
"I help a lot of lives teaching (at high school), but now I get to help educate about bone marrow cancers," he said.
Drott considers this softball game for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society just one little bit he can do to help fight against those cancers that don't get as much attention.
Drott has been able to help educate and encourage many others, but to his surprise, at this particular game, one little girl was there to give him encouragement instead. Eight-year-old Aryana Stultz, of Woods Cross, came to the game to talk to Drott about her battle with leukemia several years ago.
The two compared notes about IV's, medicine and hospitals, and then she encouraged Drott by saying, "I got better, so you can get better too."
Drott was touched that she would come to the game and talk to him.
He said he hates it when children have to go through the fight against leukemia.
Sadly, leukemia is the cancer that kids have most, according to Robin Collier, the Patient Services Manager for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, who had a booth set up at the game in hopes of educating people about those types of cancers.
Thanks in part to money donated for research, the survival rate of children having leukemia has gone from 5 percent in the 1970s to 88 percent now, according to Collier.
"We've made a lot of progress over the years, and seeing the kids here supporting the cause and Steve is great to see," Collier said.
Senior Alex Flygare wouldn't have it any other way. As one of the captains for the team, she has known Drott all four years she has played softball at Woods Cross.
"This is more than just a game, this is about teams coming together for the cause," said Flygare. "It's hard to see him struggling and go through that, and in the back of my mind, wondering what if it doesn't work out is scary, but we just love him."