April 11

Kelly Steele
Jul 02, 2014 - 8:00 PM EDT
Last Updated: Jul 03, 2014 - 8:29 AM EDT

When Joy Damphouse was fighting triple negative breast cancer, she told her husband Jim he needed to support the cause.

Joy, 44, died July 10, 2011, just over three weeks after going into the Hospice of Windsor and Essex County on Empress Road. Joy’s words never left Jim, and he tried think of a way to support the organization.

“When Joy went to Hospice we were very impressed,” Jim said. “The care, the support, the volunteers — everyone was amazing. Everyone is there for the same reason and it is comforting that everyone understands each other. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve lived it. But it’s a tough time in your life and the support from Hospice made a difference.”

Joy was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2009 and after numerous mammograms, tests and a biopsy had a double mastectomy. She endured chemotherapy treatments and was soon cancer free. In celebration, the Damphouse family went on a cruise to Costa Rica. But Joy started experiencing severe back pain and wasn’t feeling well.

“When we got back we found out the cancer was back and it was all through her body,” Jim said. “It was just three months after she had been told she was cancer free and it was now everywhere — her brain, her back. We were told it was a very aggressive cancer.”

Joy needed extra care but didn’t want to go to the hospital. So, the decision was made to enter Hospice, a place Jim knew very little about at the time.

“It was always comforting to be sitting at Hospice and you knew people around you were dealing with the same thing,” he said. “You’d just get in the habit of asking “‘what kind of cancer?’ The Windsor cancer clinic and Hospice helped calm our fear against cancer. We just want to pay it forward.”

Jim decided to come up with a fundraiser to help support the facility that helped his family during a very difficult time.

“I was going to organize a golf tournament but there are so many of them,” he said. “My niece actually came up with the idea of a volleyball tournament.”

Last June, the first N’Joylife beach volleyball tournament was held at On the Beach Bar and Grill in Tecumseh. The event attracted 40 teams and succeeded in raising $52,000. This year, the event is being held on Saturday, July 5 and is still open for those who would like to participate. The cost is $500 per team of six to eight players.

“Cancer does not discriminate. We know that rich or poor, short or tall, round or square we have all been touched in one way or the other by someone who has been diagnosed and fought the fight,” the event website says. “N’Joylife to the fullest every day, for we don’t know what tomorrow holds.”

To register or donate check out njoylife.com

ksteele@windsorstar.com or follow me on Twitter @winstarkelly

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tags: n'joy, damphouse, volleyball, hospice