Collins’ heroic legacy, positive spirit lives on through girls lacrosse team
MBC Reporter Rilee Malloy got exclusive coverage of the #MayaStrong lacrosse game.
Kaitlin Lewis | Staff Writer
On April 17, the Mason girls lacrosse team played in honor of Maya Collins, who passed away last October after her extensive battle with Leukemia.
The school initially came together during the Homecoming football game where students wore blue to support the Collins family, and released balloons at halftime in Maya’s memorial. Senior goalie Bee Kuehn said the lacrosse team decided to honor Maya in its own way because most of her teammates remain close to junior and sibling Annabella Collins, a former player.
“Even if she is no longer a part of the team, she will always be a part of the (Lacrosse) family,” said Kuehn. “We all supported her the best we could in the fall, and it only felt right to do this for her and her family.”
In the past, the team has dedicated games to competing teams who have had close ties to people fighting a life-threatening illness. Last year, the girls dedicated a game to the Marimont coach, who suffers from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). This is the first time, however, the team played for a family residing in their own community. Senior midfielder Noorah Basher said the girls were happy to be able to do something with a positive impact for the Collins family.
“We raised almost two grand for this game,” said Basher. “And it makes me feel great that it is going to such a good cause. ”
Blue t-shirts were on sale for 10 dollars a few weeks before the game and basket raffles were also available throughout. Both Mason and Kings players wore the shirts during warm-ups, while coaches kept them on for the entirety of the game. All profits were donated to St. Jude Hospital, who Collins said offered more than just medical support for herself, Maya and her parents.
From left: Senior Bee Kuehn, senior Noorah Basher, junior Annabella Collins, senior Alana Vaughn, and Ally Petrina stand in the shirts designed in support of Maya Collins.
“St. Jude has been a big part of my life for a good two years,” Collins said. “It’s an amazing place. Some families can’t afford (treatment) and have to make so many sacrifices for the sake of their child. But St. Jude covered all of it.”
The game on April 17 doubled as Youth Night for members of the Youth Lacrosse Club. Many youth players and their families were able to purchase t-shirts ahead of time to help raise more donations. Basher said it was important for the upcoming high school players to be involved in supporting the Collins family, and she was excited to involve more than just high schoolers in the game.
“Youth Night already brings in a lot of people and it felt important to get more kids involved, since Maya passed away from childhood cancer,” Basher said.
During half-time, the youth players in attendance released blue and gold balloons for Maya, followed by a host who spoke about Maya’s impact on those who knew her. Collins said the love and support from her former lacrosse team reminds her that Maya’s spirit and consideration for others will not be forgotten by the community.
“It is amazing to know that Maya’s legacy isn’t going to die,” said Collins. “She still lives in the community and with all of us. It really means a lot to our family that people still see her in their everyday lives.”
Photo by Kaitlin Lewis.