BCS Advantage Magazine Spring 2017 - Page 6

Hope and Heartbreak in the Enka Community By Stacia Harris, Communications Department A story about love, hope, and heartbreaking loss shook the Enka community in the Spring of 2016. It all started with a little girl whose difficult situation touched those in our community and beyond. Ultimately, she’d inspire a generous and life-saving decision. Seven-year-old Mya Grace was a student at Candler Elementary. She loved sports and spending time with her family, and she had dreams of one day playing softball as an Enka High Sugar Jet. But, everything changed when she was diagnosed with Burkitt’s Lymphoma. Mya was strong and brave through rounds of chemotherapy. Enka High softball coach Jennifer Kruk says the entire Enka community was inspired by Mya’s spirit and drive during the difficult time. “She had purpose: she was named Mya Grace, and she brought so much grace and hope to a community. So many people came together to follow her story,” says Kruk. Coach Kruk and her team made Mya an honorary Sugar Jet, and Mya was even able to attend Enka’s championship softball match in Greensboro in the Spring of 2016. Senior Danielle Harris recalls seeing Mya in the crowd was humbling. “I was warming up, and I looked up and she was waving at us, and I started crying on the field. It was so special to not play for myself, but to play for someone that looks up to me,” says Harris. Teammate Mariah Foxworth says the team played 4 harder than ever that game. They didn’t just want a win for Enka- they wanted a win for Mya. “The championship game is huge and for her to be there in her condition, it gave us chill bumps. She knew she might never play as a Sugar Jet. It made us want to play harder for her,” says Foxworth. Mya’s immune system was weakened, so she wore a protective mask outside. Her mom later told Coach Kruk that her daughter smiled from ear to ear under the mask that day and cheered through the entire game. “There was a time during the game when we were down,” says Coach Kruk. ‘And I spoke to my girls and said look over there, look at [Mya]. This isn’t about you, this isn’t about ball, this is about helping a little girl’s dream come true.’ Fighting back tears, the Sugar Jets recovered during that inning, hit a walk off home run, and won the state championship! Later that spring, Mya’s fight against cancer continued. Her family was told that she was in need of a bone marrow transplant. Once again, the Enka community rallied to help. Coach Kruk’s niece, a student at Enka High, planned a bone marrow registry drive in Mya’s honor. Be the Match is a nationwide organization that matches eligible bone marrow donors with people who need a life saving transplant. Matt Dawson, Enka High’s baseball coach and teacher, heard about the