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Utah teen inspires others as she battles brain cancer


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HOLLADAY — An RV with purple writing that reads "Reaganator" on the side panel sits in the Olympus High School parking lot during Friday's game. Purple balloons and streamers greet spectators who attended the softball game between Olympus and Bountiful high schools.

The royal purple is meant to show support for Olympus High School softball player Reagan Everett, 17. She has brain cancer.

"I like where I am in my life," she said. "Even if I have cancer, I wouldn't change anything."

Everett has been playing softball since she was 8 years old.

"When there's a strike coming I get excited," she explained. She said when she sees the ball coming at her, she wants "to kill the ball and hit hard."

The varsity outfielder has the same "hit hard" approach to beating a genetic mutation that causes brain cancer. Doctors removed a tennis ball-sized tumor from Everett's brain last August. Two months later, she was back on the field swinging the bat and catching balls.

"I think of softball as my escape," Everett said. "When I'm on the field, I don't think about anything else besides the game."

When doctors removed Everett's tumor, the cancer spread to other parts of her brain. She said the cancer can be terminal, "depending on how many of them (tumors) grow and how fast."

Despite the uncertainty of her illness, friends, teammates and coaches said Everett's winning attitude is so contagious, it inspired a softball theme for the year.

The theme is written on purple rubber bracelets with the words "Fight the fight! Do tough things!"

Olympus softball coach Madi White said the theme has become a rallying cry for their games — "a metaphor for Reagan's life."

"When you've got someone who's focusing on living everyday because they're not sure how much longer they're going to be around," said White, "it kind of opens your eyes to other things."

When you've got someone who's focusing on living everyday because they're not sure how much longer they're going to be around, it kind of opens your eyes to other things.

–Madi White

This attitude not only caught the attention of Everett's coaches and friends but competitors as well.

The Bountiful Braves made special game-day T-shirts with purple writing in honor of Everett.

Brook Dickerson plays on the Bountiful High girl's softball team. "You can't even pick her out of a crowd and say that this has happened to her," she said.

Dickerson's teammate Beka Mamea said Everett inspired her to live her life differently.

"She just pushes on through and she doesn't give up on life," said Mamea.

Everett said she is determined her game of life will continue for a very long time.

"I'm pushing for 90," said Everett. "That's where I wanna be when I die."

Everett said she doesn't want anyone to feel sorry for her. Instead her message for people is: When life throws you a curve ball, just dig your feet and swing.


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