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Decker family: Est. 2003

Shane and Christina Decker and their children typify the all-American family, with a full plate of activities evolving around sports.

Friday nights are in full swing at the Grayson County High School football stadium. Shane Decker is the assistant football coach on the field, and in the press box his son Kaylor is the color guy, using his knowledge from his high school years when he played on the team.

Shane's wife, Christina, and their two other children, Averi and Karver, are in the stands.

The Grayson County High School football stands on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. Shane (upper left), Kaylor (far left in press box), Averi and Christina (bottom right) spread out. Karver tossed a football around at the end-zone with his friends.

Averi and Christina in the stands at the Grayson County High School football game against Owensboro on Friday, Oct. 21, 2022. “It's just a typical small town Friday Night Lights like you know what you see on TV,” Christina said. “As a coach's wife sometimes you don't want to be immersed into everybody else. Because you sometimes hear things, and not so much any more, but when my kids were little, I really tried to stay away from that because I didn't want them to hear what people had to say when they didn't necessarily know that his kids were around.”

At evening volleyball games, the roles are flipped. In the Grayson County High School gym, Christina is a volunteer logging the books, while Averi is on the court, Shane is making popcorn in the concession stands, and Kaylor and Karver cheer on from their seats.

Christina volunteering as the bookkeeper at a volleyball tournament on Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2022 at Grayson County High School. (From right) Christina, Averi, and some of Averi’s friends hang out before the match starts.

The Deckers are an all-American small-town family that, like so many others, is rooted in sports.

Families ebb and flow, with daily ups and downs, and the Deckers are no exception. When asked how to describe their family, “I can give you two words,” says Kaylor. “Organized chaos.”

Often what holds people together are the bonds shared with others, especially with family. In the Decker family, Christina helps keep the family organized, and her plate is full. In addition to being a wife and mother, she is a Caneyville Elementary teacher of students with moderate to severe disabilities.

Christina hugs one of her Caneyville Elementary students at a Halloween-themed Family Learning Night on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022. “After I became a parent, you look at the kids a little differently,” Chrsitina said. “That is somebody's son or daughter that's coming to you, and they're intrusting you to take care of them while they're here because as teachers you have them a big chunk of their day.”

Christina working on math with her students in her Caneyville Elementary classroom during the school day on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022.

Kaylor is a first-year student studying sports psychology at Elizabethtown Community and Technical College. Averi is a sophomore at Grayson County High School who plays on the volleyball team. And Karver is in sixth grade at Grayson County Middle School and is a member of the baseball team.

(From left) Kaylor, Averi, and Karver hang out before dinner Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022.

Kaylor and Christina in their home after Kaylor had a seizure at work on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022.

Christina checks on Kaylor after he had a seizure at work on Thursday, Oct. 20, 2022. Kaylor was originally diagnosed with absence epilepsy when he was 15, then in September of 2021 he had his first tonic clonic, a type of convulsive seizure. “Now we're trying to figure out how we kind of work with that too,” Christina said. “It does affect him, it gives him some anxiety obviously. Just the never knowing when it's going to happen or you know, anything like that.”

“Mom and dad always supported me with football and school, and they pushed me. But at the same time, I felt that it was my responsibility,” Kaylor says. “They gave me those opportunities.”

A time the Decker family really came together for each other was in July of 2017, when Christina was diagnosed with breast cancer. It was Stage 3 lobular carcinoma that had metastasized to 19 lymph nodes. She went through stages of chemo and radiation therapy and underwent a mastectomy.

Shane and Christina at the Think Pink 5K Walk & Run on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022 at James D. Belville Park. Christina said, “Actually in our county as a whole, there have been several teachers diagnosed. Several just like prior to me, just a few years prior, and even after. So there's usually a big group of people from the school system that are there.”

“They are the reason that when I got diagnosed with breast cancer that I could fight it,” Christina says. “They learned to do laundry, they learned to take care of themselves. They learned to persevere through bad experiences. So that really is a big deal for me that they were there.”

Christina at the Think Pink 5K Walk & Run on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2022 at James D. Belville Park. “The first year I was doing chemo my friends were like, we're gonna go walk this thing. And I'm like, I don't even normally walk that long period, let alone not during chemo. But we did it, we finished last, but we did it,” Christina said. “It's just another chance to connect with other survivors and stuff like that, to hear their stories, and then it gives a glimpse of hope. These people are two years out, they're five years out, you know, because at the time it doesn't feel like you're ever going to get to there. The first time I walked it I had no hair, you know, all that stuff. And I'm like, ‘Oh, look, she's been done a year and her hair’s that long, so it gives you a little bit of glimpse of what's on the other side, once you get past that part.”

The Decker family also got support from the Grayson County athletic community. The football and volleyball teams did fundraisers, the football team wore pink for a game, and the volleyball team conducted a "Volley for a Cure" night.

“We weren't going to go ask for it," Christina says. "That's just not our nature to be like, ‘Hey, we need help with this’ or whatever. It was just, ‘we'll figure it out on our own’ and, you know, ‘we'll get it done’ and then we learned sometimes not everything you can do on your own. You have to have support from from people and help from people to get through that stuff.”

Being supported by the community during Christina's health issue has motivated the Decker family to reciprocate.

“It's a small town and that makes you appreciate it more when things like that happen," she says. "And I'm not the only person that that has happened for. If something comes up, a tragedy or an illness for a person, you'll see that all of a sudden the community will come together, and they'll come together in a big way to help anybody out that they can.”

“It just makes you feel loved and supported,” Christina continues. “It makes you value your small town just a little bit more. Sometimes you don't always feel like living in a small town is the greatest thing, but it can be.”

Kaylor sits down for family dinner on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022. Chistina said of family dinners, “We do try to do it every so often, it's time to regroup and get back together.”

Christina checks on dinner on Wednesday, Oct. 19, 2022 while Averi holds Ice. Over the summer Kaylor had some medication reactions that were very rough for the family, Christina said the cat is a new emotional support animal after the passing of their previous dog. Averi’s friend’s mom has a bunch of stray cats who show up so they contacted her and she brought some over for Kaylor to pick one. “She likes everybody but it was bought with the intention of helping him out,” Christina said. “He named her Ice from Top Gun.”

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