Peoria Enrollment Counselor Back in the Game After Cancer
By Michael Ferraresi
GCU News Bureau
After the surgery and uncertainty, after eight years without basketball, Jamie Frey hopes to take the court Wednesday night with her Peoria Pride teammates before what is expected to be a full house in GCU Arena.
The 31-year-old enrollment counselor for the Colleges of Nursing and Arts and Sciences last played competitive basketball for New York’s Pace University in 2004. She left the game, and postponed her degree, after fighting through multiple occurrences of thyroid cancer.
Frey is part of the team from GCU’s Peoria office, which will face off against its rival Tempe office in Wednesday’s exhibition game at halftime of the GCU men’s game against Chaminade University.
Employees at GCU’s office near Interstate 17 and Peoria Avenue in north Phoenix handle enrollment for the Colleges of Nursing and Arts and Sciences, in addition to other colleges. The Tempe office at Elliot Road and Priest Drive handles enrollment for the College of Education (hence the team’s nickname, the Educators).
Those at both offices say they feel isolated at times from the University’s main campus, and the evening represents an opportunity to bring them together.
Frey recently completed her bachelor’s degree in justice studies through GCU. She said the halftime exhibition will help her reconnect with her beloved basketball and also will introduce her to Antelope sports.
“It’s nice to be able to be part of the campus, especially since I’m a recent graduate,” said Frey, who earned an athletic scholarship to Pace out of Bethlehem Catholic High School in Pennsylvania.
She developed as a 5-foot-8 shooting guard who served as one of the school’s primary players off the bench, averaging around 15 minutes per game her freshman and sophomore seasons. She left after a third recurrence of cancer after her sophomore season and reluctantly “hung up the laces.”
The thyroid is a gland in the neck that helps regulate the body’s metabolism. An athlete faces a serious challenge with thyroid disorders because the gland is one of the body’s energy regulators.
The experience fighting cancer and coping with the loss of her basketball career, which she dreamed could lead to a pro stint, has helped Frey develop as a productive member of the Peoria enrollment team.
“Her confidence in herself as an enrollment counselor and as a professional continues to grow,” said Frey’s supervisor, Enrollment Manager Colleen McQuade.
Frey said she still understands the fundamentals of basketball and believed she could get her jump shot back if suddenly thrust into a game under the lights of the Arena.
“What’s most important is that it takes me back to a place where I realize the things that really make me happy,” she said.
Contact Michael Ferraresi at [email protected].