Choctaw Basketball Player Facing A Different Kind Of Life Challenge

Friday, February 14th 2020, 3:48 am
By: Kelsey Kernstine

A Choctaw High School student-athlete is in the fight for her life after a cancer diagnosis.

A month ago, Avery Clark learned she has Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

Clark’s family, her team and the Choctaw community are rallying together to get her through a competition like no other.

Clark said receiving the news from doctors was devastating.

"And I went into my room with my best friend, and they told me, ‘Sorry. It's really hard.’” Clark said. “It's just hard going through everything. It will be okay. I’ll be okay."

Clark’s dad, Daniel Clark, said as a father, he felt helpless when he got the news.

"You think the worst,” Daniel Clark said. “Basically, at that point, you want to get that second opinion, third opinion so hopefully someone tells you that it's not true."

"This is my baby girl, so I cater to her. I want to protect her.”

Clark’s basketball coach, Ryan Maloney, said everyone loves Avery. Maloney has known her nearly her whole life.

"When you think of everything Avery Clark, she's a fighter and she's a competitor,” Maloney said.

Avery said she learned her resilient spirit from playing ball.

“Growing up in sports it's been hard, but my dad's been so hard on me. My parents push me to be a good person and athlete,” Clark said.

She said cancer treatments aren't going to stop her from playing either. 

Avery also received a scholarship to play softball for Seminole State College in the fall. 

"I’m going to do what I can for my team,” Clark said. “I feel like I can come back and hit during these treatments.”

“We love her. The journey really hasn’t started yet and we hope she can see it through,” Maloney said.

What scares Avery the most, she said, is losing her hair.

"My whole life people have always come up to me and say ‘I really love your hair,’" Clark said.

The timing does not make it any easier. Senior pictures and prom are just around the corner.

But that's not all: There are fertility treatments, too.

“She wouldn't be able to conceive naturally like a normal person," Daniel Clark said.

Fertility treatments cost up to $15,000. But Avery said she's determined to overcome this disease.

“You can get through anything you put your mind through,” Clark said.

But her father said this is going to be her toughest fight yet.

“She doesn't give up," Daniel Clark said.

Clark has a GoFundMe page that has raised over $8,000 since Feb. 6.

Choctaw Lady Basketball will play Enid at 6 p.m. tonight.

The Choctaw High School Tip In Club and the Choctaw High School Diamond Club will host “Lime Green Out Night: A Benefit Night Honoring One of Our Own, Avery Clark” for lymphoma awareness.

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