GoFundMe page raises more than $10,000 after former FSHS volleyball coach’s cardiac arrest

photo by: File photo

Free State volleyball coach Nancy Hopkins watches over the Firebirds' summer volleyball camp, Monday, June 23, 2014, at South Middle School.

When former Free State High School volleyball coach Nancy Hopkins went into cardiac arrest earlier this week, her friend Lori Stussie knew she had to find a way to help.

She created a GoFundMe page to help pay for medical expenses, as well as to help out Hopkins’ wife, Deb Bamrick, and the couple’s two Labrador retrievers. She set a goal of $10,000 — a number that she said was “a shot in the dark.”

And she watched in amazement as Hopkins’ friends and former students and players surpassed that goal within 36 hours.

“We honestly didn’t know what people could do,” said Stussie, a counselor at Lawrence High, during a phone interview on Friday. “We did know that Nancy was always someone that took care of everybody else.”

Hopkins, who coached Free State volleyball for 18 seasons and was a teacher for 44 years, went into cardiac arrest early Sunday morning. She has been in intensive care since then and has not woken up. And after hearing the news, many coaches, friends and former players started contacting Stussie and LHS head volleyball coach Stephanie Scarbrough asking how they could help.

So Stussie got permission from Bamrick to organize the fundraiser. Scarbrough said that Hopkins spent her life taking care of others during her long career as a coach and a teacher, and that the fundraiser would help take care of Hopkins’ family during a difficult time.

“She’s so unselfish that the one thing she would want is for the people she leaves behind, her wife in particular, to be taken care of,” said Scarbrough, who was once one of Hopkins’ players. “It was the one thing that people can do.”

Stussie agreed.

“If there was one thing that we could do to honor (Nancy’s) wishes, she would want to make sure that Deb was not worried,” Stussie said. “I know this is going to be a huge relief for Deb, and I think Nancy Hopkins is smiling at us now and very, very proud.”

The fundraiser also got some help from current Free State volleyball coach Jayme Savage, who played for Hopkins at Free State. She used the team’s social media to spread the word about the fundraiser. And she said she’s seen an outpouring of support on Twitter — when she first tweeted on Monday about Hopkins being in the ICU, the post got more than 20 retweets and 200 likes.

“She’s meant a lot to this community,” Savage said. “It just shows the impact that she’s had on various people that she’s come in contact with. That reaches far and wide. It shows how many people have been impacted by her.”

By Friday afternoon, the fundraiser for Hopkins had raised $10,545 and had received donations from more than 130 people. Stussie said it would remain open for as long as people wanted to donate.

“It’s amazing (to see) all the emotional support,” Scarbrough said. “It comes from a place of everybody wanting to help in any way that they can.”

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