Mareon is 17 years old and dreams of playing golf professionally on the LPGA. "Dream" doesn't quite explain the magnitude of her goal. She lives and breathes golf, all while earning straight A's in school, and staying as level headed as one can be. She's more mature than most 30 year olds I've met, and treats everyone like gold. To say she was ahead of her time wouldn't do justice to her. She's unlike anyone I've ever met, and I believe with every ounce of my being that she'll be earning a living in between the ropes.
This isn't a story about a girl and her goals, though. This is about the intensity of her fight; her unwillingness to quit. Where 99% of us would've moved on to another dream, she keeps throwing punches in the face of more adversity than most adults face in a lifetime.
I began working with Mareon last May. In June, she informed me that she hadn't been feeling well, and the Dr.'s didn't know what was wrong. She was extremely tired, didn't have an appetite, and was losing weight. Already athletic, she didn't have any room for more weight loss. Her energy level was at 50% at the time, but she continued to practice 6 days/wk. Still, the Dr.'s said they'd definitely find out what was making her sick.
Test after test, but still no answers. Every diagnosis under the sun was given, but with every blood test, came a big fat NEGATIVE. They thought it could be (X) virus, Lupus, and they even tested for cancer. Can you believe this poor 17 year old had to face the possibility of having cancer? And still... Mareon kept practicing and actually playing tournaments.
In September, her energy level was down to 25%, yet quitting was out of the question. While most people wouldn't even be able to get out of bed, she not only found a way to put both feet on the ground, but also kept fighting to improve her golf game and keep her grades up... zero complaining. So little whining actually, that every week we met (twice/wk.), I thought she had made a miraculous recovery. She looked, walked, and acted completely normal with normal energy levels (in my eyes). Little did I know, she was constantly on the verge of tears , as she could barely find the energy to swing her club. Still, stopping or quitting never exited her mouth. Whenever I suggested she take some time off, she would exclaim,
"I'm never quitting! This will never break me! I'm making the Tour, so get your butt back out here with me, Dayne. Let's go. Time to work!"
November came and went, and still no answers. Blood test after blood test came back with nothing... no one knew what this mystery illness was, and why it was draining Mareon's system. By now, I don't have to tell you that she kept battling every day, no matter her level of strength. She was determined to be 1%. In her mind, only the rest of the pack would quit.
This month, a mini-discovery was made. The Dr.'s determined her liver wasn't working properly, and what ever was wrong would be found by testing it. This time, a simple blood test wouldn't do the trick. She was going to have to endure a painful liver biopsy, where they shoot a huge gun-like needle into her liver. Very often, the first attempt isn't successful, as the needle doesn't always pull out a big enough sample size. Mareon prayed it would only take one time; one needle probe into her 17 year old liver. Her prayers were answered. The long needle did it's job, and she wouldn't have to endure another biopsy. Even as she lay on her side for two hours and her back for an additional hour recovering, she promised this would only make her stronger.
Let me remind you once again: She's only 17!
It has been almost a week since that biopsy, and Mareon has been recovering well. Lots of pain, but nothing this warrior couldn't handle. I saw her yesterday on my way back from a lesson, she and her mom loaded my car full of toys for my two year old daughter, and was in great spirits. She's a fighter and will battle through anything. I was amazed at how good she looked so soon after her biopsy.
10:00 last night, my phone went crazy... text after text, informing me that Mareon was rushed to the Emergency Room, unable to breathe. What the hell is going on? How could this be happening to her? All she wants to do is play golf for a living, make her parents and God proud, and live a selfless life. Why is she having to face such brutalities at this young age?
The Dr.'s in the ER got her breathing under control, took some tests, and concluded she needed to have her Gallbladder removed. They said the pain was so severe (worse than childbirth), that often times makes it impossible to breathe. She's scheduled for surgery today at 2:00. As I'm writing this, I'm texting her mom, asking for updates. Mareon's doing as well as expected (better than most I'm sure), and is awaiting an MRI to come back.
Let me remind you: She's only 17!
There's no doubt Mareon will come through this on top, as she always does. With these challenges she's had to face, a stronger, more determined young woman will arise... if that's even possible. If you believe in God, Pray. If not, please have her in your thoughts. She's a true inspiration for us all.
And keep your eyes on the LPGA. When you see her on t.v., you'll know how hard she worked, and all she fought to achieve her dream. 1% always!