Osbourn Park High School (Va.) softball star Ashley Runion has fought back from a near fatal fight with acute myeloid leukemia and now leads her team this weekend into the Diamond 9 Sun Classic at ESPN Wide World of Sports at Walt Disney World near Orlando, Fla.
Runion, a senior from Manassas, Va., who spent 165 days in the hospital after being diagnosed with cancer in June 2008, has returned to the mound as the pitching ace for her travel team, the Virginia Glory, which faces some of the nation??s top prep players at Disney.
During her battle with cancer, she endured 50 blood transfusions, five rounds of chemotherapy and temporary paralysis. She was also given a 50-50 chance of survival. Yet, after regaining her health in late 2008, Runion guided her high school team to a school-record 22 wins (18 of which were credited to her) this season on the strength of her 1.02 ERA and her .400 batting average.
Runion, 17, uses her story to provide inspiration to others fighting cancer by hosting several cancer awareness events, and hopes to one day compete at the collegiate level. Runion has also raised more than $25,000 for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.