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Jam the Gym honors late Kiski coach

| Thursday, Sept. 6, 2012, 10:24 a.m.
Members of the Kiski Area volleyball team listen as guitarist Bill Deasy performs 'Hallelujah' in memory of former Kiski Area volleyball coach Jaime Vick Moran during the annual 'Jam the Gym' fundraiser in Kiski Area High School on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. Moran died in August 2012 from an infection caused by a bone marrow transplant after battling leukemia three times. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Jodie McCartney (back left), sister of Jaime Vick Moran, wipes away tears as her husband, Steve McCartney, comforts her and her parents, Debbie and David Vick, listen to guitarist Bill Deasy perform 'Hallelujah' in memory of Moran, the former Kiskia Area volleyball coach who died in August 2012 from an infection caused by a bone marrow transplant after battling leukemia three times. Moran was remembered during the annual 'Jam the Gym' fundraiser at Kiski Area High School on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
United States women's national volleyball team member Christa Harmotto watches the Kiski Area volleyball team during warm-ups with honorary team captain Mia Wilson, a student at Washington Elementary School in Washington Township who is battling leukemia. The two met during Kiski Area's annual 'Jam the Gym' fundraiser at Kiski Area High School on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch
Members of the Kiski Area volleyball team listen as guitarist Bill Deasy performs 'Hallelujah' in memory of former Kiskia Area volleyball coach Jaime Vick Moran during the annual 'Jam the Gym' fundraiser on Wednesday, Sept. 5, 2012. Moran died in August 2012 from an infection caused by a bone marrow transplant after battling leukemia three times. Erica Hilliard | Valley News Dispatch

It's been a difficult month since the terrible news arrived that former Kiski Area standout athlete and assistant girls volleyball coach Jaime Vick Moran had passed away.

But Vick Moran's life was celebrated Wednesday night during the school's Jam the Gym volleyball event.

Vick Moran died on Aug. 6 from complications surrounding her third bout with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

She was 28.

A large number of community members and U.S. Olympic silver medalist Christa Harmotto were on hand at the main Kiski Area gym for an evening of volleyball.

The school's original gym was used for a Chinese auction and other fundraising.

The Butler High School volleyball team, coached by Meghan Kelly Lucas, who formerly coached Vick Moran and her twin sister, Jodie, at Kiski Area, and the Point Park University volleyball team, coached by 1986 Kiski Area graduate Mike Bruno, played at the event.

“It's been a very emotional month and very difficult for us as a volleyball family,” said Cavaliers head coach Ellen Toy, who helped organize the event.

Toy and Vick Moran both were diagnosed with cancer several years ago.

“These girls have been part of the camaraderie of what Jaime and I both have been through,” Toy added. “They've accepted everything and gained a lot of strength, and it's been an amazing experience with me where I've found the strength and have found the energy being around the kids.”

Toy had her team at the Pitt Volleyball Camp when word surfaced that Vick Moran was in serious condition.

Proceeds from Wednesday's event benefited Vick Moran's favorite charities — Chidren's Hospital 9B-C oncology unit, the Kiski Area Education Foundation scholarship program and the Fluorescent Angels Fund.

“It was about us giving back and giving back again this year,” Toy said. “Jaime had a passion for things she continued to want us to do.”

Harmotto found out about Wednesday's event through an email sent to her parents.

“I've been quite busy, especially with being able to spend some quality time with my family for about the first time in four years,” Harmotto said. “I'm glad I was able to come out and support an event like this.”

“Christa, I'm sure gets many requests for appearances, and she decided to come here,” Toy said.

Harmotto is from Hopewell High School and played for Penn State.

“Once from Western Pennsylvania, always from Western Pennsylvania,” Harmotto said. “I come from a small, blue-collar town, and I've always had support from them in a community like this.”

A parade of volleyball teams marched into the gym. Kiski Area, Butler and Point Park were joined by girls squads from Leechburg, Plum and Kittanning high schools.

Guitarist Bill Deasy performed “Hallelujah” and the National Anthem before the Kiski Area-Butler varsity game got under way.

Raffle prizes included tickets to an upcoming Penguins-Toronto Maple Leafs game and November's Madonna concert.

Toy gave considerable credit to her husband, Tim, for helping to organize the event.

George Guido is a freelance writer for Trib Total Media.

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