High school senior, Mary Lacy Lusk has ankylosing spondylitis (AS).
For those who might not know, ankylosing spondylitis is a rare autoimmune disorder that is similar to rheumatoid arthritis. Mary states that it feels as if her immune system is fighting itself. With this disorder, she experiences joint pain throughout her body.
Aside from AS, Mary has a heart murmur and asthma. However, she has been an athlete throughout her life. Naturally, this lead to her having multiple injuries, which eventually led doctors to diagnose her with AS.
This year, Mary was the recipient of the Bryant Jordan Student-Athlete Achievement Award recipient in Region 2.
This honorary award recognizes student-athletes who have overcome a hardship or obstacle. Additionally, the winner receives a $2,500 scholarship for college.
Mary most certainly deserves this award. She is an all-around athlete:
- Co-captain on the cheerleading squad
- An All-American Cheerleader
- Captain of her school’s marching band dance line
- A championship competition dancer
- Captain of her volleyball team
- A varsity basketball player (until this year)
She has participated in all of these sports while struggling with AS. Despite the pain, she believes that staying active as a student-athlete has helped her deal with the autoimmune disorder. Also, she maintained a 4.0 GPA while being involved in other school activities.
Mary is the first student to win the award at her school in 15 years. The school and her parents are extremely proud of her!