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April 25, 2013

H.S. SOFTBALL: Michell is healthy spirit for Bulldogs

Senior diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma in December

NEW ALBANY — New Albany senior Sydney Michell has been living with illness more than half of her life.

It hasn’t stolen her joy.

After living with Crohn’s Disease since she was 8 years old, Michell was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma — a form of leukemia — in December. The oversized lymph nodes were discovered while she was having surgery for complications from Crohn’s, a disease that inflames the bowels and the gastrointestinal tract.

The diagnosis and ensuing rounds of chemotherapy have barely slowed the Bulldogs’ softball star.

“This is a girl that through all that she’s [been through], she always has a smile on her face,” New Albany coach Steve Belden explained. “She doesn’t expect any special treatment. She’ll have chemo treatment, then be at a game or practice. Her actions are of a team leader — and she doesn’t have to say a word.

“She’s my attitude adjuster. She puts everything in perspective for me.”

Michell has spent most of the season on the junior varsity team, while regaining her strength. Michell, who also is a standout student and cheerleader, is expected to make a full recovery and she hopes to contribute to the varsity by sectional time in about a month.

New Albany has been on fire of late, and Michell and the Bulldogs hope to compete for their first sectional championship since 2004.

“She hasn’t been able to put as much time and effort as most girls have on a year-round basis,” Belden said. “She hasn’t been able to play at her best physically, but she will be a big reason why we contend this year.”

On Tuesday, the New Albany softball team wore purple and lime green uniforms during the Bulldogs’ 3-0 win over Providence to show its support for Michell. The purple represented the battle against Hodgkin’s lymphoma and the lime green represents the fight against leukemia.

Before the game, Michell spent a few minutes with the News and Tribune for a one-on-one conversation. The following is an edited version of that conversation.

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