<
>

USF, softball teams around the country are #MereBearStrong

Meredith Bissette is trying her best to stay positive as she battles a rare form of cancer. Her teammates, the University of South Florida and softball teams around the world are rallying around her.

The #MereBearStrong movement initiated in April after Bissette, a sophomore infielder for the Bulls, was diagnosed with Chordoma, a rare form of cancer with which one in 1 million people in the United States are diagnosed each year, according to the Chordoma Foundation.

"Obviously, everyone was stunned by Meredith's diagnosis and the battle she is now facing," USF head coach Ken Eriksen said shortly after the diagnosis. "The way she has handled everything has really been inspirational to her teammates, her coaches and everyone she touches. She has been unwavering and so positive in facing this challenge. Her teammates and coaches love her and miss her, and we will do everything we can to support her in this fight."

As she battles the disease in Boston, her teammates and programs from all over are showing their support. For starters, her teammates are bringing her No. 00 jersey in the dugout. They write "00" on their wrists and even bring a cardboard cutout of her so they can see her face each day.

Other school teams, including the football and baseball teams, are also showing their support with the double zero.

Softball teams of all levels from across the country are joining the movement, from Liberty University to Grand Canyon University.

Even before the support spanned from coast to coast, Bissette was optimistic she would win her fight.

"I feel like I have the confidence to overpower this cancer and it is thanks to y'all," Bissette said in a story on the USF website. "I am staying positive, happy and confident through this whole ordeal. I know I will beat this cancer, and that it is just a small bump in the road. I will be back better and stronger than ever after completing my treatment over the summer. I plan to be back at USF kicking and screaming again come fall."

A GoFundMe page has raised more than $12,000 and the Bulls will host a home run derby on Sunday to try to crush Chordoma in support of Bissette.

It seems Chordoma has a 00 percent chance at winning this fight.