Women’s basketball to host benefit game for former coach this Saturday

Day for Melissa Johnson graphic

RICHMOND, Ind. – The Earlham College women's basketball team will be raising funds to help support former head coach Melissa (Liffick) Johnson '03 in her ongoing fight with multiple medical ailments during this Saturday's basketball doubleheader against Anderson University at the Druley Performance Gym.

The Quakers' Heartland Collegiate Athletic Conference doubleheader with Anderson on Saturday, Jan. 26, will commence with the women's game at 1:00 p.m., followed by the men's game at 3:00 p.m.

In lieu of an admission charge to Saturday's game, Earlham women's basketball will be accepting donations with a collection bucket at the main entrance to Schuckman Court.
Earlham student-athletes will also go through the stands at halftime with the collection bucket seeking additional donations.

In addition to raising funds for the Johnson family, the Earlham women's basketball team will show its support by wearing orange shirts during warm-ups – Coach Mel's favorite color – and orange shoe laces.

Other HCAC women's basketball teams will also be participating in Saturday's "A Day for Melissa Johnson."

Hanover College women's basketball will also be collecting donations for the Johnson family during its Saturday home game with Bluffton University, and Mount St. Joseph women's basketball raised money for the Johnson family on January 12 when it played host to HCAC-rival Defiance College.

All funds raised will be donated to Johnson, who was Earlham's head women's basketball coach from 2011-14, and her family to help defray the costs associated with her continued medical treatment. "Coach Mel" was first diagnosed with chronic pancreatitis in March 2014 following a routine hysterectomy, and, to date, has had all or part of 14 organs removed and been hospitalized for over 600 days at Richmond's Reid Hospital, the Cleveland Clinic, and other medical facilities.

In her most recent major procedure, Johnson had her colon removed on October 10, 2018, at the Cleveland Clinic in an effort to help her digestive system.

"Coach Johnson is still an important part of our program, and her continued fight to regain her health has been inspirational for everyone associated with Earlham women's basketball," said Shauna Watson, Earlham's head women's basketball coach. "We hope to see everyone in Richmond and Earlham College come out to the Druley Performance Gym to support Coach Mel with a contribution and enjoy a great afternoon of Division III college basketball."

Melissa Johnson and her husband, Nick Johnson '01, have two children – a daughter, Jayden, and a son, Jacob.

For more information about Earlham women's basketball, visit the online home of Earlham College athletics at www.GoEarlham.com. Fans can also stay up-to-date on the latest Earlham athletics news by following Earlham Quakers on Facebook (Earlham Quakers Athletics), Twitter (@EarlhamQuakers), and Instagram (EarlhamQuakers).