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Win or lose, Bulldogs play for Emily

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As their season closes, freshman softball players from Richards High School will take with them what every coach dreams: The lesson that teams and individuals become their best when bound by love, togetherness, and the pursuit of common goals.

For that, they have thanked 8-year-old Emily Beazley and her parents, Nadia and Ed. Emily is battling Stage 3 T-Cell Lymphoblastic Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma, enduring 30 months of chemotherapy and other treatments that kill cancer cells but drain her energy.

Since learning of Emily’s fight from head coach Greg Foertsch, the softball players have devoted their season to her. Before each game, they touch the photo of Emily and SpongeBob SquarePants on the cover of their scorebook.

“When coach first told us about Emily, it was so upsetting,” said Kristen Kaminsky. “My mom had lung cancer and had to go through chemo. After seeing what happened to my mom, I could only imagine what it’s like for a little girl.”

“I felt so sad for her and her family and friends and confused about why bad things happen to good people,” said Katie Crowley.

Foertsch knows the Beazley family through his son, John, who attends Mount Greenwood School with Emily.

“When coach told me Emily’s story, it made me realize how much of a hero and role model she is. Whenever I’m down, I can think of Emily. She motivates me to try my hardest,” said Samantha Waller.

“Tears came into my eyes when my coach told me about her story. Emily is one of the strongest kids I’ve heard of. It gives me hope because she is so brave and she lightens up everyone’s day,” said Lexie Badon.

The relationship flows both ways. Even as she fights, Emily appreciates the support of the Richards players.

“We truly appreciate what they did this season,” Ed Beazley said. “Emily loved it. She loves that people know about what she’s going through. To finally see their faces, that really meant a lot to her.”

The team got to meet Emily May 18, at which time they presented the girl with a softball the players had signed and written messages of encouragement.

“I think it inspires the team to work hard. When you know there are kids fighting for their lives, you want to do everything you can to help,” said Dana Wujcik.

Too, the softball players shared how this season has affected their perspective on life.

“I thought about how I would complain when I have nothing to complain about,” said Brittany Huttner. “A lot of people have bigger problems every day and we need to help them.”

“I keep thinking that if Emily could go through all of these tests and treatments and survive, that I certainly could do anything I put my mind to,” said Andrea Sonichsen. “She taught me not to give up or quit.”

Family and friends will host a fundraiser on Oct. 5 at 115 Bourbon Street. To support the Beazley family, please visit www.emilysentourage.com.

Supplied to the SouthtownStar



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