At first, Emma Griffith's fear had been a hip injury that would keep her from playing in the USA Junior National Girls' Volleyball Championships. But the Estancia High incoming sophomore received some shocking, bad news about a week before the tournament that began June 28, Saddleback Valley Volleyball Club Coach Chris Lee said.
Griffith was diagnosed with cancer. The news shook her, her family and the Saddleback Valley Volleyball Club. As the somber news of her unfortunate situation has spread, more and more people have been wanting to support Griffith and her family, said Kelli Talmage, a Saddleback Valley Volleyball Club coach.
Talmage helped organize a passing clinic/fundraiser that will take place Sunday at 3:30 p.m. at SVVC, 26923 Fuerte Drive in Lake Forest. The Griffiths have several costs, including fees for traveling frequently to Los Angeles for treatment.
SVVC will charge $20 per person participating in the passing clinic. All the money will go to the Griffith family. SVVC is also accepting donations for those who don't take part in the clinic.
"She's awesome," Talmage said of Griffith. "She's smiling all the time. She loves life. She is an awesome person to her teammates. The emails I've gotten from people say that they all love her and want to support her. Everything is about, 'I'll do anything for Emma.'"
Talmage said it would be best that Griffith and her family not speak to the media at this time.
Talmage met Griffith's mother, Jenny, a few years back. Jenny, the former Evans, was a volleyball standout at Newport Harbor High and UCLA. She is also an assistant coach with SVVC.
Griffith's older sister, Abby, also plays volleyball at Estancia, where she'll be a senior, and with SVVC.
"We were shocked, sad and angry and then we all wanted to help them and be there and support them," Talmage said of her reaction to hearing the news last month. "You just want to help them in anyway you can."
Lee was also stunned when he heard the news about Griffith.
"She's such a great kid, such a nice, sweet kid, "Lee said. "My first reaction was just shock. I didn't think it would be anything serious when she went in for her injury. It's just so sad."
There is also a website set up for Griffith for donations and support, www.signupgenius.com/go/8050F49ADAE2FA20-blessings.
The website says Griffith was diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a type of cancer that starts in the bones.
"I think it's so awesome that the volleyball community is coming together for her," Talmage said.