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No doubt about it, Wahl is an inspiration

Delaney Wahl stor32y.jpg
Bay Port girls soccer player Delaney Wahl is in a battle for her life and not backing down.

SUAMICO (WLUK) -- Delaney Wahl is one of those people where if you spend 10 or 15 minutes with her you come away amazed.

This past week I met Wahl to talk about her battle with Epithelioid Hemangioendothelioma, which is a rare cancer that belongs to the group of cancers called sarcomas. EHE is a vascular sarcoma.

The estimated incidence of this rare tumor is less than one per million people.

Wahl, a senior soccer player at Bay Port, was diagnosed with the cancer when she was 12 and more than five years later she's winning the battle. And make no mistake, she's winning because of who she is.

Wahl was one of 11 teenagers world-wide diagnosed then and when diagnosed she learned there was no foundation for the cancer. She decided to start a foundation of her own to not only help herself, but others.

"Of the original 11 us that were diagnosed, only four of us are left, and so that's kind of been my driving force, keep fighting," Wahl said. "Keep spreading awareness and try to keep finding new ways to raise money. I'm fighting a lot for myself and for the people I know that are facing the cancer that I'm facing."

Delaney Wahl not backing down from cancer

Imagine being a kid and taking this approach. Where do you start? How is it done? Can you really make a difference?

No teenager should be in this position. He or she should be thinking about school, college or going to the Friday night football game and cheering for his or her school.

But Wahl isn't your ordinary teenager. She is literally fighting for her life and there's no guarantee of how long she could live.

Imagine being in this position. How would you react?

The cancer has brought out the best in Wahl. When tragedies happen, you ask why. Wahl never asked why. Instead, she decided it was a chance to make a difference.

"I think through this whole thing there have been times where I had the ability to say why me?" Wahl said. "I have to realize that I am so lucky to be in the position I'm in. I've been given the opportunity to help a lot of people which I've always been very passionate about.

"It' something I take day by day. You have to roll with the punches as they come and find the good spots in every situation and that's what I try to do every day."

Bay Port girls soccer coach Brooke Mraz calls Wahl and inspiration and when she talks about her, she smiles.

That's the impact she has on people.

"She knows it's a battle every day," Mraz said. "She comes to practice and says, 'The chemo kind of kicked my butt today.' Again, watching her she's tough, she's really tough."

Wahl is tough and a lot of other things. Meeting her this past week was an eye-opener. I've interviewed countless high school, college and pro athletes, but Wahl's interview stands out above everyone else and it's not because it was recent.

Her attitude is unbelievable. She's open, she smiles, she's honest and maybe most importantly, she's not afraid.

Wahl wakes up every day and goes to battle with a cancer that has no cure, just yet. She takes medicine before games and practice and is also trying experimental chemo.

She's doing everything in her power to live her life as long as possible.

We would all fight for our lives, but she's going beyond what most would do. Nonetheless, what stands out the most about Delaney Wahl is the person she is.

Delaney Wahl is an inspiration.

Follow Doug Ritchay on Twitter @dougritchay

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