Newark High School Hosts Concord High School for "Stick it to Muscle Disease" Game
Newark and Concord Field Hockey Teams Dedicate Game to the Fight Against Neuromuscular Disease
NEWARK, DE - Newark High School Yellow Jackets (Newark, DE) hosted their "Stick it to Muscle Disease" Game against Concord High School on Friday, September 15th, 2017. The Yellow Jackets and the Raiders have both joined the Muscle Movement Foundation this season, uniting in the fight against muscle disease!
MMF Founder/President, Rob DeMasi, spoke to both teams before the start of the game. He elaborated on his personal muscle disease survivor story and success the MMF has accomplished in the community due to the support of MMF's partnered athletic teams. The student-athletes from Newark and Concord wore red, black, and gold ribbons in their hair to represent the colors of the Muscle Movement Foundation. The red in the ribbon stands for the variety of tests, procedures, treatments, & medications our families endure. The black represents the difficult times our families may experience. Finally, the gold/yellow represents the light at the end of the tunnel, which symbolizes the amazing support the MMF provides by way of our Charity of Champions Program - Champions across the country playing in honor of the MMF's Muscle Champions!
The student-athletes had the opportunity to play in front of a special individual who was in attendance at the game. Muscle Champion, Rhiannon Downey, understands the significance behind the red, black, and gold ribbons worn by the athletes from a first person perspective. At just 13 years old, Miss Downey was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis, an autoimmune form of muscle disease which causes fluctuating muscle weakness, paralysis, and fatigue throughout the body. Miss Downey, a stellar softball and field hockey player, endured the shocking trials and tribulations leading to a diagnosis of muscle disease. From competitively using her muscles at will on the playing field, to collapsing in the arms of a neurologist after completing just several body squats, Rhiannon and her family endured the unexpected - a diagnosis of a disease that would affect her muscles for the rest of her life. Nonetheless, Rhiannon quickly persevered and fully defined the odds in living with myasthenia gravis. At 13 years old, surgeons cracked her sternum open - similar to open heart surgery - and removed her thymus gland in hopes to assist Rhiannon in the long term prognosis of the disease. The removal of the thymus gland may result in a permanent, or temporary, remission; although, some patients may see little to no results after enduring the invasive surgery. After the surgery, Rhiannon persevered like the true champion she is. She relentlessly overcame the procedure, which may exacerbate symptoms of MG, and began her comeback! After her diagnosis and surgery, Rhiannon returned to her home life, the classroom, and the playing field and excelled tremendously! She enrolled at Concord High School where she earned academic all-state and served as a starter on the softball and field hockey teams. After graduating from Concord High School she played club field hockey for Towson University and is currently furthering her education at Neumann University, pursuing a career in nursing. Miss Downey also serves as an advocate for the Muscle Movement Foundation. Her running team, Team RAD, attended the MMF's 2017 Delaware Run for Strength 5k with close to 30 participants and raised over $1,000 for her fellow Muscle Champions in need!
Miss Rhiannon Downey - the definition of a champion; a true Muscle Champion!
The final score of the game recorded as Concord-7, Newark-0. Although organized sports deems one team the game winner, both teams were deemed "Champions" by over 1 million Americans who are affected by muscle disease.
We look forward to seeing both teams at our Annual 2018 Delaware Run for Strength 5k which will take place on April 7th, 2018 this year.
2 teams. 1 Purpose. "Stick It To Muscle Disease"!