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Top of the Morning, March 30, 2024

Mar. 30—Stephanie Record asked her doctor to start radiation treatments ahead of schedule so she could join her Illini cheerleading team at the Big Ten men's basketball tournament in Minneapolis. Doc looked at her as if to say 'Are you serious?'

"I said 'I'm not kidding. It has to be done,'" she said. "It's been a long year-plus. Just to be able to be with this group was a priority to me."

This month's magical run has been exhausting but therapeutic for the Illini's 30-year cheerleading coach, who has undergone two surgeries since being diagnosed with breast cancer. "Totally worth it," she said Friday, tuckered out after an extra long night of work. "Wouldn't trade it for anything."

Record's in Boston with the people she loves: husband Rush, their two daughters and the 10 women and two men who make up the Illini's cheer team. It's their third consecutive weekend on the road providing support for a team that's a win away from the Final Four.

Due to treatments, Record had to scale back during football season. And while she's "still fighting that battle," she's encouraged by the progress she's made and the support she's received.

"This team has definitely kept me up emotionally — and that always affects how you feel physically," she said. "If I hadn't been coaching, it'd be a different experience for me altogether. The level of support from parents and kids and everyone else has just been incredible. It's been amazing."