(May 27, 2013) – Last October Briar Woods High School senior Emilie Ball had her world turned upside down overnight. Even though she didn’t have any symptoms or illness, a relative noticed a lump and encouraged her to have it checked out. She was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma cancer.
“It came out of the blue … it was a curve ball, definitely,” said Ball.
And her first thought was: “I won’t be able to play softball my senior year.”
“It was absolutely shocking when we found out about Emilie,” said Briar Woods coach Chris Starke. “Our primary concern was her health and recovery.”
Ball, whose father Keith was just named to the current class of Park View High School’s Athletic Hall of Fame, comes from an incredible strong family and Emilie, with the help of her family, neighbors and teammates went full throttle at beating the cancer, including an energy-sapping 12 weeks of extremely aggressive chemotherapy. Some sessions lasted eight hours.
Keith Ball said there were times he had to carry Emilie up the stairs.
“She was a trooper and right now she has no active cancer cells in her body and she is continuing to recover,” said Keith Ball.
It helped that her Falcon teammates kept Emilie’s spirits up during the battle, sometimes bringing her breakfast and dinner, talking to her on the phone, texting, keeping her in their thoughts and prayers.
What soon started driving Ball’s recovery and resolve was to get back on the softball field. The odds may have seemed long but Ball completed her treatment and was able to make tryouts, becoming one of two seniors on a Falcons team that finished runner-up in the Dulles District and opens Region II play Tuesday night at Skyline.
“Four months ago, I thought I never would be here,” said Emilie after the Dulles District championship game, a 1-0 loss at Woodgrove on Friday.
While her battle with cancer and subsequent injuries this season hasn’t let Ball do the things on the field she was able to do last year when she made second-team all-district as a junior in the outfield, she has not only accepted her off the field role but become in Starke’s words “our best leader”.
“I couldn’t be any happier than where I am now. The girls are there for me 24-7, they always have my back,” said Emilie.
And Emilie said her team is ready to go out and win in the regionals: “We are ready. We have the heart and soul.”
Keith Ball summed up the interview by simply saying: “She’s my walking miracle.”