Cross Country Team Dedicates Season to Lily Walker

Malvern’s Cross Country team has dedicated their season to Lily Walker, who visited with the team on August 31, to share a pep talk. Lily previously visited the Malvern Community last January and spoke to the student body following Weekly Mass, sharing her brave and inspiring battle with brain cancer.

Diagnosed at age 14 with brain cancer, Lily continues to fight with an inoperable brain tumor. Her family, friends, neighbors, and even strangers in Havertown join her in this fight with support in the form of lawn signs and displaying green porch lights. They join her with prayers of healing on Zoom calls every few months and daily at 11:15 a.m. (November 15 is Lily’s birthday). Many people pray the Bill Atkinson Prayer for Lily’s miracle. Fr. Atkinson was a paraplegic that led an amazing life despite the challenges he faced. He is in the process of being canonized as a Saint, this process involves miracles attributed to his intercession. Lily, her family, friends, and others touched by her story continue to hope and pray that she will be Fr. Atkinson’s miracle.

Lily’s pep talk to the team:
"Hey guys - I am so glad to be out here talking with you today. And even happier that you are dedicating your Cross Country season to me and bringing awareness to pediatric cancer.
 
When I talked to your school in January about my journey with faith while battling cancer, I was hoping to touch a few people. But the response I got was tremendous!! Like more than I ever realized could happen just by talking about my life.
 
What is going on in my life is far different from a lot of what is happening in yours for sure. However, I can almost guarantee that you are all dealing with things that are challenging, tough, or annoying. That is part of living. Looking at those challenges and facing them. Head on. That is what I have to do.
 
Every. Dang. Day.
 
So on your Cross Country days, remind yourself that you have survived 100% of your bad days. That's toughness. That will keep your fire lit.
 
When you see that hill up ahead, accept it. Think of the "hill" that I have accepted. Tap into your inner David (you know, the one who fought Goliath), or think of me, climbing my hill every day. Tackle it. Be stronger than it.
 
I would look to the top while running up hill and picture myself reaching the summit. Other runners keep their head down pretending the path is flat or pulling strength from watching the muscles in their strong legs. Whichever way you decide to conquer that hill, just know that you are GOING to conquer it!
 
And when the finish line is within view - DUMP IT. That's what I would say in my head. DUMP IT - it's time to give it everything you've got left in the tank.
 
I will end this little pep talk with this thought. It is my senior year of high school. I haven't been able to run with my team since 8th grade. And I would give anything to lace up my sneakers again and get that adrenaline rush before the starting gun goes off. So please, keep that in your heart and on your mind as you run this season for me. Make it your best one!"

Thank you, Lily, for your inspiration! Learn more about Lily’s story here.