Former USC Aiken basketball star has found her home in Aiken

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Behind her black-rimmed glasses, Meredith Legg’s eyes sparkle when she speaks.

Ex-USC Aiken star Meredith Legg, who is the all-time leading women's scorer in school history, has been embraced by Aiken during her battles with cancer.  CHRIS GAY/STAFF
CHRIS GAY/STAFF
Ex-USC Aiken star Meredith Legg, who is the all-time leading women's scorer in school history, has been embraced by Aiken during her battles with cancer.

After an almost three-year battle with cancer, she is quick to flash her optimistic smile. And after her latest appointment earlier in the week, Legg has a reason to grin. The tumors in her liver either have shrunk or remained stable. She won’t have to go back to the doctor for another two months.

“When it’s hard to put into words how well I’m doing through this process, you have to know it’s the power of faith and the belief in God,” Legg said. “People ask me all the time how I handle it. You just pray about it. And you ask others to pray for you. You can’t do it alone.”

The all-time leading scorer in USC Aiken women’s basketball history, Legg is one of eight people getting inducted into the school’s athletic hall of fame tonight at the USC Aiken Convocation Center.

Legg, who turns 25 in March, said she feels blessed to get recognized by her alma mater. But this is nothing new. The Aiken community loves her, and her apartment proves it – she has myriad cards of support, balloons and other mementos.

Legg, who grew up in West Virginia and North Carolina, loves her adopted home. After graduating in 2009, she’s worked as a financial analyst at URS Corporation. She’s also coached three seasons at Mead Hall Middle School, leading the girls team to a 36-6 record and two consecutive Aiken-Augusta Private School (Division 2) titles.

Legg also is the director of the Aiken Elite AAU girls teams (U-12, U-14), which begin their season later this month. When she’s not involved with basketball, Legg attends the Wednesday night Bible study at St. John’s United Methodist Church in Aiken.

“The community’s made it special for me. It’s a sense of home,” she said. “As much as I’ve moved, it’s the first place I can call home.”

Legg’s home became one big support group after she was diagnosed April 13, 2009 with uveal melanoma, which was found in her left eye. Doctors eradicated the tumor, but a new problem emerged in May 2010. A routine PET scan revealed a spot on her liver. She received radiosphere treatment during the summer.

In February 2011, doctors discovered six tiny lesions on her liver. She needed 12 immunoembolization and chemoembolization treatments during the year. In December, a checkup showed the lesions either had shrunk or stayed the same.

“Stable for me is very good news, because the cancer is very aggressive,” she said. “It can go to any spot at any time.”

Legg has found a calling reaching out to others with cancer and helping with melanoma awareness. Last year, she traveled to Toronto to tape a video for YouTube titled “Dear 16-year-old me.” It has been translated into five different languages and viewed by more than five million people.

“I just don’t want to hold in what God’s given me,” she said.

Legg is hopeful for a breakthrough in technology to emerge soon. She mentioned the current research of Adoptive T-Cell therapy, which, she said, teaches your body to kill cancer cells. She remains optimistic for the future.

“What gives me hope is knowing that my doctors are always fighting for a cure,” she said. “Hope comes from reading the Bible and being raised a Christian. It’s just something I have.”

HALL OF FAMERS

USC Aiken holds its Athletic Hall of Fame ceremony every two years. The third and fourth classes will be inducted tonight. It includes: third class – Richard Abney (baseball), Ashley Farr (baseball), Mike Green (soccer), Kendrick Smith (basketball) and fourth class – Sean Gunn (basketball), Meredith Legg (women’s basketball), Ed Reevey (golf) and Adam Riggs (baseball).


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