Olentangy Liberty senior beats cancer, plans to play field hockey at OSU

POWELL, OH (WCMH)–Walking across field at Olentangy Liberty on Senior Night brings Mara Hunter quite a smile. Compared to where her life was a year ago, she’s grateful just to be up and moving.

Mara says she would spend days at a time in bed. Her parents said she would sometimes need a walker just to get around the house.

It wasn’t a sports injury that left the normally active Mara struggling to get around. After not feeling well for months following her breakout sophomore season, she went to see her doctor. Just a few hours later, she was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.

madi_1Mara calls it “the good cancer.” She was in remission a month later, but the chemotherapy was so grueling, she was only able to complete one class her junior year at Liberty.

As for returning to field hockey?

“I never thought that I was going to be able to play again,” Mara says. “I can honestly say I lost the hope of playing again.”

Then one day, after another round of chemotherapy, she went to the Liberty boys’ soccer game and missed a call in the process. It was Ohio State Field Hockey Coach Anne Wilkinson. She wanted Mara to be a Buckeye.

“That’s what pulled Mara through,” says her mother, Christina.

field_hockey_1_720Mara agrees. She says the next day, she was up and running – preparing for her return.

She’s still undergoing chemotherapy and will continue to do so through September, 2017, but she’s well enough to play again – and is leading playoff-bound Patriots team in goals.

It’s just one more achievement she can check off the list.

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