BALLSTON SPA – Mya Hauser has been a cheerleader for as long as her coach, Tori Vandetas, can remember.
Hauser, a sophomore at Ballston Spa High School, is a member of the junior varsity football cheerleading squad. But last season, she became ill and her doctors weren’t sure of the cause. Believing it was a thyroid condition, Hauser underwent surgery, only to learn that her thyroid problem was, in fact, a much bigger problem. She received a diagnosis of stage four Hodgkin’s Lymphoma in October 2016.
“It struck us all so deeply,” Vandetas said. “We’ve all been trying to create as much positivity as possible.”
Vandetas and her squad decided to do something to help their teammate during this difficult ordeal. They made T-shirts and hair bows with Hauser’s name on them and started wearing them. They also created bracelets similar to the ubiquitous Livestrong bracelets.
As word of Hauser’s situation spread, the shirts, bows and bracelets became more popular. Vandetas began selling the items to other sports teams at the school, and before long kids in the rest of the student body were also buying and wearing the items to show support for their schoolmate.
What happened next is a testament to the power of positivity. Sports teams and cheerleaders from other schools, including Scotia, Schuylerville and Mohonasen, began buying Hauser’s shirts, bows and bracelets and wearing them at games.
Hauser’s mother, Mindy, said she was amazed by the incredible outpouring of care and support.
“While Mya’s cancer was at stage four when we discovered it, we were told by the doctors that it is a curable disease and the survival rate is 85 percent,” she said.
It hasn’t been easy, however. Hauser goes in for chemotherapy treatment every 21 days at Albany Medical Center.
“She has had five rounds of chemotherapy treatment and her last one is scheduled for Jan. 24,” Mindy Hauser said. “After that, she will undergo 16 days of radiation.”
Hard enough for anyone to go through, let alone a 15-year-old girl.
“Mya’s attitude has been amazing,” her mother said. “She has had several blood transfusions, which have really helped her get through the treatments, and her doctor is very pleased with the results so far.”
Hauser’s cheerleading squad has been there for their teammate during her difficult treatment schedule.
“We put together a ‘chemo’ basket for Mya, with things she would need when she goes in for treatment,” Vandetas said.
While the family has insurance, Mindy Hauser said their deductibles are high and there is a significant co-pay, so every little bit of support helps. All profits from the sales of the bracelets, bows and T-shirts are going to the Hauser family to help defray medical costs. Hauser’s aunt also started a GoFundMe page to help with the medical expenses.
In the meantime, Hauser, who has been receiving at-home tutoring, is looking forward to getting back to school and the cheerleading squad.
“Mya is going to start back to school one day a week,” her mother said. “And she is very much looking forward to cheerleading in the fall.”
You go, Mya.
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