Abby Christian is a VERY good softball player. As part of last year's Luther college softball team that qualified for the NCAA Division III National Tournament, Christian batted .359. She led the team with 58 runs batted in and with 14 doubles and was second on the team with ten home runs.
But on Sunday the Luther softball program recognized Abby for something that has taken place off the softball diamond--her fight with non-Hodgkins lymphoma. A special "Strike Out Cancer" day was held during the doubleheader against St. Mary's University.
She tells decorahnews.com that she got the news she had cancer on January 27th of this year. But when the call came to her, she knew she wanted to head back to the Luther campus, where her fellow softball players--people she calls "my best friends and my family"--could give her the support she needed.
Then, every two weeks, she headed back to her home in the Des Moines area where she underwent chemotherapy for five hours at a time at Methodist Hospital.
The entire softball team--from coaches through equipment managers--would send her text messages every time she got chemotherapy, telling her that she was in their thoughts. "I will never be able to repay them," she says about the support she got during the chemotherapy sessions.
After months of chemotherapy, Abby got a phone call last Wednesday with the news she had been hoping for--she was now cancer free.
So Sunday saw her back on the softball diamond, where she has now added catcher and designated hitter to her former position of outfielder. And where she has been hitting over .300 this season, despite all the distractions and despite sometimes needing a break to get back her energy.
"The softball field has always been the place where I can go to forget about everything," she tells decorahnews.com. Although, as of last Wednesday, there is no a whole lot less to have to forget.