"Keep fighting and keep pushing every single day, don’t ever let anything slow you down." Alex Wilcox lived by this quote while courageously battling ovarian cancer.
Although diagnosed with ovarian cancer in 2015, it did not stop Wilcox from competing. She continued to play softball throughout her treatments and helped lead Brantley High School in her hometown of Brantley, Alabama, to multiple state championships, which led her to sign with the Mississippi State University Bulldogs in 2016.
She was and will forever be an inspiration to not only her teammates, but to the MSU, Starkville and softball community. In a press release sent out by the MSU athletic department, it was announced Wilcox’s number will be retired during halftime at the MSU vs University of Louisiana at Lafayette football game on Saturday.
"Alex (Wilcox) left a positive and profound impact on the world around her," said softball head coach Vann Stuedeman. "It is hard to imagine how she must have been feeling physically because there was never a day that she didn’t share her beautiful smile with us. She was full of life. She was brave and her determination was astonishing. She showed us daily how to face an evil giant with grace and dignity. I have been forever changed by her inner beauty, strength, courage and love of life. Alex was a gift to all who knew her. I am thankful she chose Mississippi State, and blessed to have had the opportunity to know her."
Despite receiving chemotherapy treatments, Wilcox contended in eights game with three starts her freshman year while balancing a full academic course load. Wilcox was named to the SEC Honor Roll in the spring.
"Alex epitomized what it meant to be a Mississippi State student-athlete," Director of Athletics John Cohen said. "Her courage, smile and positive commitment to life in the face of adversity touched the lives of so many. Alex’s legacy will live on forever at Mississippi State as we retire her jersey and dedicate an award in her honor. Generations to come will know her inspirational story, what she stood for and that indeed 'no one fights alone.'"
The MSU softball program banded together to support Wilcox throughout the 2018 season with its “No One Fights Alone” campaign. The team wore teal uniforms during midweek contests to spread awareness for ovarian cancer and Wilcox’s fight.
The campaign made a huge impact as teams across the Southeastern Conference and the country rallied around Wilcox by wearing teal and sending messages of love and support. For their selfless efforts and support, all 13 SEC softball programs were awarded the league's Sportsmanship Award in June.
Wilcox passed away in her hometown of Brantley, Alabama, on June 25. She was 18 years old. On Sept. 16, MSU will honor Wilcox’s legacy with an on-campus memorial service officiated by M-Club director Tyson Lee.
"(I'm) grateful that I get to play a part in celebrating a life well lived by Alex Wilcox," Lee said. "Hearing the stories of the lives she impacted reminds me of the power in a life filled with hope."
The service is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. inside the Chapel of Memories, and will feature video tributes as well as members from MSU softball's team speaking on Wilcox’s impact both on and off the field. The event is open to the public.
Her jersey will be retired in a special ceremony during halftime at the MSU football game. She is the first female student-athlete at the University to have her jersey retired.