True to herself, McNamara has walked the hallways of Lake Brantley with her head held high and a smile on her face. Water polo has played a big part in her journey. She continues to practice with the team and in play games, racking up a total of six goals this season. Her teammates all support her, whether it is through wearing caps to school, donating to the cancer fund, or wearing the number nine on all their caps for the district championship game.
“She is so strong,” Senior and water polo captain, Vitoria Artmann, said. “You don’t feel down for her because she never feels down about herself. I want to be protective, but she doesn’t need that. She is just so strong.”
Strong she is. She is truly an inspiration to everyone she meets, and many people are not afraid to admit that. She inspires her teammates, and keeps a positive point of view on everything. She has found a fellow friend in Ian Supra, another water polo player with Stage Four Esophageal Cancer who plays for Doctor Philips High School. Through all the various forms of support, she is continuing on strong. A major influence on her experience, be it in the pool or out, is her coach Nick Gaffey.
“Whenever something like this happens, it can either pull you apart or pull you together. I feel like top to bottom, this has really helped pull us together as a team,” Gaffey said.
There is truly only one way to describe Saoirse McNamara, and that is Saoirse Strong.
Optimistic, energetic, hilarious, brave, incredible, strong- all of these words have been used to describe Saoirse McNamara, a freshman at Lake Brantley, whose life took a dramatic turn in March after a Jet Ski accident landed her in the hospital. The next day when she woke up, she found out that she had been diagnosed with Stage Three Hodgkin’s Lymphoma after tests for injuries revealed the tumor. Although the disease is completely curable, the doctors took no chances. Starting off on a set plan for chemotherapy soon thereafter, her daily routine completely changed. She was thrust into a life of chemotherapy, hospital trips, and the effect of the sickness. On top of that, she has continued with school, keeping up with friends, and varsity water polo.
“Honestly, if I didn’t have support from teammates and friends, I wouldn’t be as calm as I am now,” McNamara said. “I probably would’ve had a worse reaction.”