TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – He is a husband, a father, a coach, and, now, a co-chair of a fundraising campaign that is extremely important to him. That campaign is called Vs. Cancer, which funds efforts to help children battling cancer.
“It means a lot,” said Billy Mohl. “It means more to me knowing that I am fulfilling the promise that I made.”
Mohl is responsible for recruiting individual athletes, teams, and communities to the cause and, as the head baseball coach at the University of South Florida, he has the necessary connections.
“The special part of the whole thing is, whatever money we do raise,” he explained, “Fifty percent of it will go to research and 50% of it will go to Tampa General Hospital in the children’s cancer ward where they will use that money to improve their quality of life.”
Since joining the program in 2014, Mohl and the Bulls baseball team have raised more than $10,000 every year.
“The team’s goal is $12,500,” he said, “which I am pretty sure we have already surpassed.”
Mohl also made a personal goal for himself, hoping to raise $6,000 this year. He has already hit that mark and, similarly, he is already well on his way to fulfilling that promise he made to his wife, Sarah, years ago.
“It was years ago but it feels like yesterday,” he admitted, “but, watching somebody go through it, obviously, we were both 28 years old and you don’t expect to deal with that at 28.”
Sarah died from a rare type of cervical cancer in 2013 leaving behind Mohl and their young son, Hunter.
“Her cancer was pretty much incurable from the get-go,” said Mohl. “When you see what it does to somebody and you have a chance to impact it and, maybe, somehow, in a small way, donate some money that might find a cure, you do not want to have to sit there and live through that and watch that ever again.”
That deadly disease has touched Mohl and it has touched his players, which is why they are raising money and raising their game. The team participates in an annual “Cut for the Cure” event where they shave their heads. That event will follow the game against the University of Cincinnati on May 2.
“Some of them are not looking forward to losing their hair because they have spent a lot of time grooming it and making sure it looks good,” said Mohl. “I know we have one player, who is deathly afraid of losing his hair, but, at the end of the day, when you get that thing shaved, it is great for the cause.”
Mohl, like any admirable coach, does not leave his players to fend for themselves. He will put his hair in the hands of a stylist, too.
“I always shave my head, always, every year,” he said. “Every year, me and my son from my first wife, we participate and we both shave our heads and we look forward to that every year.”
They do it for Sarah, they do it for their family, they do it for their friends, they do it for everyone who has been affected by cancer, directly or indirectly.
“At the end of the day, I got my two families. I got my family at home and I got my family here at work with my 37 kids and my coaching staff,” said Mohl, “and it is just a small part of a way we can give back to something greater than anything else we will do in our lives.”
Mohl has since remarried and, together, he and his wife are in charge of four boys. His youngest stepson enjoys being a part of the “Cut for the Cure” shave too.
If you would like to make a donation, you can do it here.