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West Valley City Journal

Losing is not an option #lexistrong

Jun 02, 2017 10:40AM ● By Greg James

During the #lexistrong softball tournament the team made and signed banners to support their teammate and her family. (Greg James/City Journals)

By Greg James |  [email protected]
The Granger High School girls softball team was blindsided by the news that their teammate, Lexi McArthur, had been diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML).
“Lexi is a bright, cheery and happy girl. She is always a bright spot to all of us. She has lots of energy and works very hard in practice and in games,” Lancer head softball coach Evan Kirschner said. “She plays second base and outfield. She loves this game and really identifies with the girls on the team. She has learned the game really well.”
AML is a cancer of the bone marrow and blood. Treatments can include chemotherapy and stem cell transplant. McArthur was diagnosed on April 13 and began chemo two days later. She will turn 16 on June 9.
In a short two-week period, the Lancers players and coaches organized a Saturday tournament to raise funds to help with her medical expenses.
“The girls felt it and were very sensitive. It has been very hard on them. We are very close as a team and have really bonded together. Our motto is all in and all out. I feel the girls have embraced that and we are close to getting to our goal,” Kirschner said.
Jen Griffiths, the Lancer JV coach, and several parents organized the tournament. Teams from around the state lined up to play and support McArthur and her family. Umpires donated their time, a team that could not come because of prom raised money and businesses donated shirts and food.
“We have had an amazing response. Chick-fil-A, Mrs. Fields, Paradise Bakery, Frito Lay, Pepsi, Tower Sports all donated lots of stuff for us. Lexi is a girl that works her butt off. (She’s) only a sophomore and asks a lot of questions. It was a horrible experience, her diagnosis, but she is very positive because of all the support she is getting,” Griffiths said.
Despite the feelings of despair, McArthur’s teammates rallied together to support her. They arrived early, raked a rain-soaked field and sold concessions and T-shirts at the tournament. They have arranged visits and FaceTime her to keep her spirits high.
“I was devastated, but I feel like we are playing for her now. It has made me grateful for everything in my life,” junior Aspen Earnshaw said.
The Lancers lost six straight games after McArthur was hospitalized, but entering the final week of the season (press deadline) they still had an outside chance to qualify for state.
“If we get a win here and there we could go to state. Our pitching has been good and we have had timely hitting. It has been a solid team effort. We have been trying to change the culture. We talk about going onto the field and being as successful as we can,” Kirschner said.
McArthur remains hospitalized after her first round of chemo. Her friends and family have set up a GoFundMe account for those who might want to help out.
“Lexi’s spirit is great. The girls on the cheer team and softball teams have been so supportive of her. It is so awesome to see the support. Our softball team is part of the family,” said Angel Alires, McArthur’s mother.