Basketball A Timeout From Reality For Crystal Family 

Thousands of fans will take a seat at the Bangor Auditorium this week during the basketball tournament to watch their teams play.For one family from Crystal, the Southern Aroostook girls team has given them a respite from day to day life.The Warriors finished the regular season ranked 15th in Class D, just barely making the playoffs.They pulled a big upset in their preliminary game, beating number 2 Fort Fairfield.For Sophomore Mataya Hartin, she had to play without her mom in the stands. “It was really hard cause I know she wanted to be there like she really, really wanted to be there and she was so excited when we won that she even cried, she was just so excited.””I was on my way home from Boston,” said Tammy Hartin. “And I had three or four people texting me giving me the score and I was screaming.”She was in Boston for cancer treatments.In March of 2007, she was diagnosed with stage three colo-rectal cancer, and in October of last year, doctors removed a spot on her lung.For the Hartin family, sports has been a way to take a timeout from it all.”It’s exciting just to sit there and watch your kids compete,” Tammy said. “And not have to worry about your next doctor’s appointment or your next chemo treatment or when your surgery might be.””I’m playing but I know she’s still sick so it doesn’t really help that much,” said Mataya. “It does so I don’t really think about it as much.””We’ve tried to keep normalcy as much as we could,” Tammy said. “You know the way it was before the cancer to try to keep that normalcy and that’s the way we’ve done it.”Tammy’s daughter and Mataya’s older sister Shelby is a freshman at UMaine. She was an 8th grader when her Mom was first diagnosed, and she thinks normalcy is good, but knowing what was going on helped just as much. “Parents need to be upfront about it with their kids, I mean even if they are young they still need to understand what’s going on because it’s hard on them if they don’t”Tammy is telling her story in hopes it helps someone else because after the tournament is over, cancer is back in the spotlight. “March is Colon Cancer Awareness Month so I would recommend that anyone that has any history of colon cancer don’t wait until the recommended age to be tested, go sooner. I was 34 years old and I had an uncle who passed away at 48 with the same cancer so if you have any family history go sooner than the age of 50.”Tammy’s doctor stopped her recent chemo treatments and she will now just get regular check ups with CT scans to monitor her health.As for the game Hodgdon beat Southern Aroostook 39-35.