“I couldn’t ask for anything better’: annual softball tournament helps families touched by cancer

The extreme heat didn't stop a charity softball tournament in Marion.
Published: Aug. 21, 2023 at 5:57 AM CDT
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MARION, Iowa (KCRG) - More than 600 athletes took part in the 5th annual Mya Strong Softball Tournament at Prospect Meadows over the weekend.

The tournament benefits the Mya Strong Foundation.

“When Mya was 12 and diagnosed for the third time with brain cancer, she came up to us and said, ‘Mom, can we just take the money that we’ve had over the years as donations, and donate it to kids that need it more than we do?’ We have good jobs. We have good insurance. And so we’re like, ‘Yeah, absolutely. That’s a great idea.’ So that’s actually how the Mya Strong Foundation was born,” said Brooke Gilchrist, Mya’s mom.

Mya was first diagnosed at 18 months. She relapsed at five-years-old, then again at 12.

“In her 17 young years, she’s been through about six years of chemotherapy,” said Brooke. “Her tumor is not curable. It’s just treatable. So we just kind of take every day, you know, and choose kindness.”

Kindness—and fun. Mya is a cancer survivor, but Sunday, out on the field, she was also just another athlete on the team.

“I love my teams, all my teams that I’ve played on have been awesome and amazing,” said Mya.

Last year, the event raised over $17,000 dollars, but, even more than a fundraiser, the tournament is a show of love for a kid who has faced a lot.

“It makes me feel awesome that, like, people care and want to not only come to this tournament to be competitive, but also to have fun and support this organization. So it’s really, it’s really awesome,” said Mya.

“I couldn’t ask for anything better,” she added.