The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Coach Brenda Frese’s son beat cancer. This weekend, Maryland will Play4TheCure.

Sunday’s regular season finale will carry special meaning for Maryland women’s basketball Coach Brenda Frese, whose son Tyler Thomas overcame childhood leukemia. (Paul Beaty/Associated Press)
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The sixth-ranked Maryland women’s basketball team will play its regular season finale on Sunday against Minnesota, with the Terrapins’ seniors being recognized in a ceremony shortly before tip-off. The game, however, figures to carry even more meaning for Coach Brenda Frese because Maryland is partnering with Play4TheCure to help raise awareness for cancer research.

Play4TheCure is a fundraising platform for the National Foundation for Cancer Research. Frese’s son, Tyler Thomas, had childhood leukemia diagnosed in 2010 when he was 2 and immediately began receiving treatment. In December 2013, Tyler underwent his final round of chemotherapy and since has been cancer-free.

“There’s so many great reasons to play and support this game, and doing anything we can to help fight cancer is right at the top of the list,” Frese said. “A lot of people know we had our own experience with one of our sons, which really opened our eyes and hearts to this critical cause. It’s something that affects us all and a battle we have to continue until we win it. We want every family to have a happy ending.”

As part of the event, survivors may register to receive a complimentary general admission ticket to the game and participate in the pregame survivors’ recognition. Representatives from There Goes My Hero will be on the concourse level at Xfinity Center as well to add potential donors to the international bone marrow registry. Volunteers may do so with a cheek swab.

Fans who contribute at least $5 to the Terrapins’ Play4TheCure donation page may bring their receipt to the Maryland ticket office and purchase general admission tickets for $1.

The Terrapins (25-3, 14-2) are a game behind No. 5 Ohio State (23-4, 15-1) for first place in the Big Ten. In the event both teams finish with the same conference record, Maryland loses the tiebreaker by virtue of getting swept in the regular season series.

The Terrapins regardless are assured of a double bye into the Big Ten tournament quarterfinals next week. Maryland is the reigning regular season and tournament champion in the Big Ten and has made consecutive appearances in the Final Four.