Surprise parade moves local coach with cancer to tears

Associate head Baylor softball coach Mark Lumley watched Thursday evening as a parade of about 200 vehicles streamed by the front of his house in a surprise show of support after he learned his cancer had returned for a fourth time.(Courtesy photo)
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(KWTX) Associate head Baylor softball coach Mark Lumley wept Thursday evening as a parade of about 200 vehicles streamed by the front of his house in a surprise show of support after he learned his cancer had returned for a fourth time.

"He doesn't cry, but he was crying big," said longtime friend Kyle Heard.

Lumley, better known to friends as "Lum," was first diagnosed in 2007 with prostate cancer.

He beat that, but it returned in 2015 in the lymph nodes outside the prostate area.

He underwent treatment, beat it again, and then in 2018 the cancer returned as colorectal cancer, which he also fought and overcame.

Lumley, who’s in his 19th season at Baylor, had been doing well until just a few weeks ago.

"The week of spring break we found out it had returned, this time to the vertebrae," his wife, Stacey, said.

Lum underwent radiation, but last Thursday doctors discovered the cancer had moved to lymph nodes in his neck pressing on his voice box which caused him to lose his voice.

When word the cancer had began to spread, friends were quick to rally.

Heard, along with Baylor head softball coach Glenn Moore who coached with Lumley at LSU before coming to Baylor, and Buzz Fastpitch founder Wes Waller, helped organize the parade.

"He's a great guy, will do anything for anybody, so beloved in this community," Moore said.

When the friends came up with the idea, they had no idea just how big the turnout would be.

"I told coach Moore there might be eight to 10 cars,” Heard said.

But when Heard pulled up to the Brookshire’s store in Robinson, where supporters were told to gather before the parade, the parking lot was overflowing and cars were backed up to nearby State Highway 7.

"It looked at least a mile long," Waller said.

The organizers estimate more than a thousand people were there.

There were current Baylor players and former players who drove hours to return to Central Texas just to pass by and wave.

"It was an incredible scene," Moore said.

"Knowing that they'll go through this struggle and this challenge with him I know means the world to him."

Baylor athletic director Mack Rhoades was in the long line.

So was Baylor head basketball coach Scott Drew, along with his wife and three children, one of whom stood up through the open sunroof of the family’s SUV holding a handmade sign that read "Sic 'em Coach Lum."

Softball players of all ages hung out the windows of vehicles holding signs of support.

Looking back, Heard said he should have expected that kind of support.

"You see that many people showing that much love for one person you don't need to know anything else about that person," he said.

"It was very humbling."

And humbling for the Lumley family who says they felt the love as they now look ahead to a new fight.

"I couldn't believe it. It was overwhelming," Stacey said.

"Coaching is his life so he's always facing these battles looking ahead to getting back on the field. So he'll do that again this time and seeing all that support, it definitely gives him hope."

Lumley will start another round of radiation on May 4.


(Courtesy photo)