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Yow shares story of persistency with National Agents Alliance during kickoff in Raleigh, N.C.

RALEIGH, N.C. – Debbie Yow is very proud to be the sister of the late Kay Yow, the long-time women’s basketball coach at North Carolina State University.

Yow, who spoke during National Agents Alliance’s “Be Your Own Rock Star” Version 2.0 National Convention kickoff ceremony on Friday, said her sister’s long battle against cancer was a shining example of persistency in work and in your personal life no matter what you face.

After Kay Yow’s death on Jan. 24, 2009, Yow decided it was time to return home to take the job as the Wolfpack’s Director of Athletics. Yow had been in the same position at Maryland for 16 years, where her teams won 20 national titles during her tenure.

“My sister died and that’s when I came home,” said Yow, who is from Gibsonville, N.C. “Life is full of seasons and it was time for me to come home.”

In 1987, Debbie Yow was in her first administrative job at Florida when Kay was first diagnosed with cancer. It was serious and required a Modified Rapid Mastectomy.

The late Yow was supposed to coach the United States women’s basketball team in the Olympics, so she went ahead with the surgery, even against her sister’s wishes.

“It upset me but she decided to do that,” Yow said. “She won the gold that next summer.”

Through the years, Kay Yow’s cancer kept reoccurring time after time. She tried all sorts of treatments, had people praying and just kept pressing on for more than 20 years.

“I tell you this not because it’s a sad story, it’s really a terrific story of persistence,” Yow told the National Agents Alliance crowd. “Dealing with life and death is not exactly what you deal with on a day-to-day basis. Losing a sale is not the same thing as dying. I wanted to tell you that for persistence. I wanted to tell you that for prayer. Some things are bigger than us. I know that in my life there are things that are bigger than me.”

Yow told the thousands in attendance that there will always be problems in life if you are living and breathing. Overcoming obstacles is just part of life, she said. Yow said you have to take things one day at a time, have a specific plan, work hard and smart, be creative and do something you are passionate about.

“Be Persistent,” she said. “Never give up, Jimmy Valvano was so big on saying that and ESPN reminds us of that every year with his last speech. A fund for my sister’s foundation was set up for her inside the Jimmy V Foundation, they were very close so we wanted it set up that way.”

During the first 10 days of February each season, NCAA women’s basketball teams wear pink uniforms and shoes to support breast cancer awareness. It’s normally called “Hoops4Hope.” This year, it has been rebranded and will be called, “Play4Kay.”

“That reinforced in my mind the impact that (Kay’s) persistence had had on thousands and thousands of people,” Debbie Yow said. “People she never knew, people she was never going to know, but it meant something to them and I think it’s an encouragement because of the emotional tie to them.”

Yow closed by wishing God’s graces on each person in the audience and left with an old coaching adage.

“Good better best, never let it rest until your good becomes better and your better is the best.”

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