Mya raises $25,000 to fight cancer
November 2, 2021 | Metro Sports Report
The annual Mya Strong softball tournament at Prospect Meadows last month was a smashing success that raised more than $25,000 for the continuing fight against childhood cancer.
Now the Gilchrist family that runs the Mya Strong Foundation would like to expand the tournament even more next year to include more teams and raise even more money.
The tournament was held Oct. 16-17 and involved 55 teams in 8u, 10u, 12u, 14u and high school competition.
“It was amazing. It went super-well,” said Brooke Gilchrist, the tournament director and family spokesperson.
The Mya Strong Foundation was the brainchild of Mya Gilchrist, a 9th grader at Alburnett who has battled cancer nearly her entire life since being diagnosed with a brain tumor when she was 18 months old.
More than $55,000 has been raised since the Foundation began three years ago. All of the money is earmarked for young people and their families who are fighting cancer.
The Mya Strong tournament has grown every year. Brooke Gilchrist said they’ll be aiming for 65 to 70 teams when the fourth annual event is held at Prospect Meadows in October of 2022.
“We had so many teams that said we’ll be back,” she remarked. “We had an amazing turnout. Prospect Meadows was super accommodating. And Mya had a great time.”
Mya Gilchrist and her two sisters played in the tournament. There were lots of hugs, smiles and pictures.
“It was incredibly successful, beyond anything we could have imagined,” said Brooke. “So many people said this was the best time for us to end our season.”
The Wisconsin Bandits, who won their age division, drove six hours to Prospect Meadows, had a great weekend and drove six hours back home.
“Their coaches said this is the tournament our players can’t stop talking about,” Brooke relayed.
The Central Iowa Kaos softball program had 11 teams in the tournament and invited Mya to play with one of their teams in a different event. They even gave her a new Kaos uniform.
The Mya Strong Foundation will be donating $1,000 to Camp Heart Connections, with the money used to “adopt” two kids who have been affected by cancer and send them to camp.
Next year, the Foundation plans to include the Mississippi Valley Blood Drive in its activities, emphasizing the importance for people to donate blood for cancer patients who need transfusions.