Chance encounter with Roy Williams helps woman with brain tumor

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From left: Amy Louthan, Roy Williams, Hannah Telman at the Labor Day fundraising run. (Wilmington Star-News)

We recently had an editorial on the blog about Roy Williams' underappreciated nature as a coach. There's no underappreciating what he's done here. This story, via Wilmington's Star-News, is an uplifting one and shows how important and impacting college coaches can be in communities -- even ones where they don't live.

A woman named Amy Louthan has a tumor in her brain. At the end of August, Louthan and her friend, Hannah Telman, were prepping for a local charity run, scrambling after Louthan found out just days before Labor Day that her brain had developed the growth. Telman was attempting to help raise as much money as possible for Louthan's inevitably astronomical medical bills.

So Louthan and Telman were running together around Wilmington -- and that's when the two women met the North Carolina coach. According to the story, this chance encounter eventually led to more than $10,000 raised for Louthan's cause at the race. Telman didn't have the guts the first time around, when she saw Williams out -- just walking. He happened to be on vacation in Wilmington, a beach-based town near the southern edge of North Carolina.

As these things go, it very nearly didn't happen.

“We're at mile 8, and all I can think is, 'Why am I running this far,' ” Telman recalled this week with a laugh as her running partner “goes ballistic. … 'That's Roy Williams!' So I turned around to follow him and thought, 'No, that's celebrity stalking and I'm not going to do that.' “Then we went past the church, and I prayed and I said I'm going to have the guts to say something when we pass him again.”
Despite never exchanging email addresses or telephone numbers, Telman and Williams met right on time in front of the church on [Labor Day] morning. ... Williams also admitted the morning was “a little bit emotional,” and incredibly well-spent. “I really, it's just something I think everyone should do,” he said. “It was very down to earth.”

Williams came, participated, and quietly left some time after, all this while the coach was getting in a quick vacation prior to the start of classes at UNC. The staggering part of it all is Louthan's husband, Keith, is a pastor at a local church. Despite discovering the tumor four days before Labor Day, their church rallied to raise funds, and by the end of the holiday weekend $28,500 had been brought in for Louthan's surgery, according to the report.

That's some story, right? Almost all of it is good, too, but uncertainties still hang in the balance. Last Tuesday Louthan went in to have her tumor removed, and the majority of it was, but a tiny portion of it had to remain due to its proximity to her brain stem and nerve center, per the report. She still awaits the results of whether or not the growth is benign.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Norlander is a national award-winning writer who has been with CBS Sports since 2010. He's in his seventh season covering college basketball for CBS, and also covers the NBA Draft, the Olympics and... Full Bio

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