PORTLAND -- At a Portland high school homecoming game Friday, football players were hoping to shine a light on a special person in the stands. She’s facing major medical problems and although she's a little girl, she is as tough as any one of the players on the field.
It’s the story of two cousins, one the football quarterback, the other a 4-year-old cheering him at every home game.
That little girl has a common, and for her at least, very serious birth defect.
On Friday, players, coaches and fans found a way to show her they’re on her team.
“Were going to get after it, show them what Franklin is all about," said Aidan Markum.
It's homecoming so there’s that pressure, but there’s also someone on Markum's mind: A 4-year-old who faces a pretty mighty opponent of her own.
His cousin Mya has Spina bifida. It’s a disease a lot of us have heard of but few know much about, including, until four years ago, Mya’s mom, Angi Muckey.
“It is when their spinal column doesn’t close, and it happens days after conception,” Muckey said.
Mya’s been through 60 hospitalizations, and there’s no real cure. That's why were trying to bring awareness to this.
"You think of breast cancer you think of pink and the NFL. Now were trying to wear the yellow to bring awareness to this disease,” Markum said. “We got yellow socks. Some of the fellas are wearing bracelets and I have Mya’s initials on the tape.”
Franklin’s head coach threw in his full support.
“You know, everybody thinks they have it tough until you are four and have had 13 surgeries,” coach Tom McCarthy said.
Mya’s sister sold bracelets in the stands. Maybe it was just a good night, maybe it was Mya. Just before halftime her cousin on the field got the crowd smiling, and for at least one fan, made it hard to keep an eye dry.
“You know, I’m not a crier and I’ve been crying for two days because I’m humbled by this experience and she’s been struggling lately with her health and its coming at a really good time for her,” Muckey said.
Mya also must have been a good-luck charm because Franklin won their homecoming game Friday.