The CUAA Bowling Team’s encounter with Make-A-Wish recipient Olivia highlights the profound impact of resilience, courage, and community support.

This past weekend, amidst the competitive atmosphere of the 2024 Hoosier Classic in Indianapolis, the Concordia University Ann Arbor’s bowling team had a profoundly moving experience. Selected by the Tournament Director and the Make-A-Wish Foundation, the team had the privilege of supporting a remarkable young girl named Olivia, whose story of resilience and courage left an indelible mark on everyone present.

Olivia, a 9-year-old who loves bowling, had endured a harrowing battle with brain cancer just last year. She shared with the team how she narrowly escaped death, undergoing emergency surgery to remove a life-threatening tumor. Reflecting on her journey, Olivia approached the team radiating energy and excitement, eager to share her remarkable story of survival.

“I am so thankful,” Olivia exclaimed. “Do you know I was 15 minutes away from dying when they removed the tumor from my brain? I fought like crazy to survive, and I did it! I survived!”

Her words resonated deeply with everyone present, stirring emotions and prompting reflection on the fragility and preciousness of life. As Olivia bravely took the microphone in front of a crowd of over 2000 people, she shared her message of how she fought to live and make her dreams come true.

The Concordia Bowling Team rallied to make her experience truly unforgettable. They presented her with a Team Conco honorary Team Captain backpack, generously donated by BSN, which the entire team signed. Additionally, Olivia received her own custom Red and Black Bowling Jerseys, embodying the spirit of unity and support.

She was given her very own bowling ball adorned with Concordia’s logo. With cheers and applause ringing through the lanes, she proudly stepped up to deliver the honorary first shot of the tournament, symbolizing her triumph over adversity and her unwavering spirit.

I could only think how we serve a powerful and gracious God, and how if we continue to live our mission of serving others at Concordia, things like this will continue to be presented to us and be possible through Him,” Concordia Bowling Men’s Bowling Coach Rob Lancioni said. “This is a weekend we will all remember for a long time. This was one special little girl!”

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