CoachUp Wears ‘Grey for Anna’
While CoachUp is all about working while nobody is watching, we often like to take a step back and celebrate our success stories from time to time. This story is about a courageous young girl named Anna and her extraordinary journey towards present day, where she stands stronger than ever before following her surgery. Of course, this story has a happy ending, but it didn’t always appear that way.
With the help of Anna and her mother, Stephanie, we’re excited to share this uplifting chapter about defeating illness, overcoming obstacles, and getting back to the sport you love! Six months ago, Anna was struggling with a litany of symptoms — everything from dizziness to agonizing pain tortured the Blackwell family, particularly so because nobody had any answers. As Stephanie put it on I Wear Grey for Anna, a Facebook group with 436 people dedicated to Anna’s cause, they ran into wall after wall:
“We were told it wasn’t normal but nothing appeared to be wrong. We did test after test: MRI, CT Scans, Ultrasounds, Blood Tests, all on the hip, stomach and back.”
After an allergic reaction a few weeks later, Anna was rushed to the hospital for observation — and yet, still, the doctors came up empty.
While they were able to treat some of her symptoms through physical therapy and pain management, they didn’t disappear. In fact, it wasn’t until a staggering change to Anna’s vision that the answer revealed itself: “We set up an Optometrist appointment and visited a pediatrician. The field test [that Anna took] determined it was a right-side peripheral loss of vision in both eyes. The MRI revealed it was due to a [brain] tumor.” Less than ten days after her diagnosis, Anna was having surgery to remove the tumor, hopeful that she could lead a healthy, normal life afterwards!
Today, we’re so happy help announce that Anna has passed six months since her surgery — with no new growth and the healing process moving full-steam ahead.
At this point, you might be wondering what this has to do with CoachUp, or even sports in general — but here it is: Anna is a basketball player. Her illness not only put her life in jeopardy, but her ability to play the sport she loved as well. She struggled aspects of her game before the doctors diagnosed her tumor, but with the help of Coach Albert, the duo has exceeded expectations.
During her recovery from surgery, her work with Albert reinvigorated Anna’s love for the game, mentally and physically becoming stronger each day. Anna explains: “He has taught me that pain is mental, pushing through gets you to a greater outcome. I’ve learned that when you feels discouraged, simply go and do the hobby that you love. Playing basketball eases the pain and gets my mind off it.”
On July 17th, in a wonderful video posted in I Wear Grey for Anna, she details all the remarkable improvements she’s made since her surgery — sports-related or otherwise — all while showing off her dribbling skills.
“I had given up on the fact that I would recover from my brain tumor — until just yesterday. My right side is extremely weak and as I was outside playing basketball, I noticed my right arm was suddenly stronger. I broke down into tears and now I know there’s hope. Yesterday was a day I will never forget.”
This fall season, there’s more hope than ever. Following the positive MRI in August, Anna has continued to work with Coach Albert as often as possible. Even cooler, she attended the Dallas Mavericks’ Hoop Camp this summer and hung out with friends, coaches, and (!) Dirk Nowitzki — a dream that was unfathomable just a few months before.
As Anna continues to get healthier, we have no doubt that her courage, perseverance, and passion for basketball will help her improve — and, as long as Coach Albert is by her side, the sky’s the limit. Stephanie’s advice to those dealing with an illness or obstacle are words to live by:
“Just do whatever you can to have your child’s back. Be there for them during the bad times, be their strength when they need it most. You will have rocky roads but you must never give up.”
Congratulations to both Anna and Stephanie again! We’re so proud that you’re part of the CoachUp Family! If you’re ready to book your own coach and improve, find you fit by clicking the button below.