San Diego State catcher/first baseman Jacque Vaca will not be able to compete for the 2004 Aztec softball team. She is suffering from Lupus nephritis, an inflammation of the kidney caused by systemic lupus erythematosus, a disease of the immune system. Her red and white blood cell counts are low and her blood pressure is up. The disease started affecting Vaca just before Christmas.
Vaca’s family has had a rough year as her dad, Mike, is dealing with end-stage colon cancer. She is withdrawing from classes for the semester and will start three months of chemotherapy immediately.
“Jacque’s scared right now, but she’s got a great attitude about it and if anybody can handle it and beat it, Jacque’s the person to do it,” head coach Kathy Van Wyk said. “She’s a very strong-willed person, a real fighter. She has a lot of pride and cares about doing everything she does as best she can, whether it’s academics or athletics or anything else.
“The team has really pulled together to help her out, especially financially. We’re going to find ways to help her any way we can. Obviously it’s a big blow to our team. She was a huge part of our offense last year.”
Vaca hit .333 to lead the Aztecs with nine doubles and two home runs in 2003 and was selected to the all-Mountain West Conference team. She is the only Aztec to participate in three NCAA Tournaments, having played in the 2001 and 2002 versions for Illinois-Chicago and in 2003 for SDSU.
Van Wyk and the softball team are setting up a foundation to raise money for Vaca’s treatment. Questions can be directed to Van Wyk at (619) 594-1952 or and donations may be mailed to: 5302 55th Street Suite 4013J, San Diego CA 92182.