Tasha Butts, Associate Head Women’s Basketball Coach at Georgia Technical Institute was diagnosed with breast cancer in November 2021. Butts had been an athlete her entire life, playing at the University of Tennessee where she was an All-SEC guard and played in two national championship games. Being an athlete her entire life, Butts has always been in tune with her body so when she started having back pain, she knew something was not right.
After conversations with her closest friends, she went to get a mammogram. She underwent tests the same day. She called her parents right away, knowing she would need help fighting the disease. Aside from family, the closest of friends, including former teammates, Head Coach Nell Fortner, and Chief of Staff Mickie DeMoss, Butts kept her diagnosis private. Once she moved forward with additional tests and treatments, she was involved, but stayed off the court and didn’t travel. Once friends and recruits started to ask questions, it was time to tell the world. Inspirational messages filled Twitter with the hashtag “Tasha Tough.”
She had a good job, available medical care, and good insurance. When someone asked how she was doing financially, Butts thought about the number of bills she pulled out of her mailbox every day. She knew not everyone had care available to them and she began a mission. She started to share her story and raise money as part of the Kay Yow Cancer Fund mission, but also her personal one. In partnership with the Play4Kay initiative, Georgia Tech committed to raising $100,000 over the next two years when the Kay Yow Cancer Fund will award a $150,000 grant to Northside Hospital in Atlanta where she received her treatment.