Gerri Bolin

Unstoppable. Committed. Tennis Coach. 

Gerri Bolin is the varsity boys and girls tennis coach at Ross High School in Ross, Ohio. She is a member of the Western Brown (1999) and Mount St. Joseph Athletic Hall of Fame (2014). Last year, she was named the Southwest Ohio Conference Co-Coach of the year. 

In March 2018, after getting her yearly mammogram, she was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer. While Bolin knew that she was about to enter one of the hardest periods of her life, she wouldn’t let that stop her from doing what she loved. Bolin continued coaching after a lumpectomy in March and the start of her chemotherapy in April. 

“I would’ve had a good reason to stop, but I would’ve felt like a quitter, too,” Bolin said. “The more I was home, the more I would spend thinking about it, looking things up. Tennis got my mind off of it and helped me build my strength and endurance,” said Bolin, as cited by the Cincinnati Enquirer

One member of her team recalls Bolin attending every single practice, even in the freezing cold. “The amount of motivation that we saw in her was completely phenomenal,” said Nate Ziepfel, who was a senior in high school at the time. 

When the boys season ended in mid-May, a few weeks into her chemo treatment, Bolin charged right into the girl’s season and radiation began in July. 

For Bolin, the greatest strength came from finding inspiration. “For her, it was former college basketball teammate Patty Seta-Tabb, who was cancer-free in June 2012 after a double mastectomy following an April diagnosis,” read the Cincinnati Enquirer. 

“Just knowing that she’d been through the same thing was helpful,” said Bolin. “She gave me information about what to expect and helped me think about questions to ask. It was very beneficial to know somebody personally that had been through it versus just reading about other people’s experiences.”

As a coach and as a parent, Bolin has been a change agent. 

“She (Bolin) has taught us that life throws a lot of obstacles, but you cannot let that stop you from doing the things you love,” said Isabella Saylor, who played on the RHS girl’s tennis team. “Life is about celebrating accomplishments, not wallowing in pity. The best way to find a cure is to make a difference in another’s life.”

Apart from connecting with other survivors in real life, Bolin urges women to get regular mammograms.