MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Sometimes a person, and a family, just need a lift.
Sydney Scott and her family live in Pequot Lakes, where the town and the school have been very supportive.
Sydney’s uncle is the head basketball coach of the highly-successful St. Michael-Albertville girls’ basketball team, and they provided one big assist to Sydney’s family when they needed it most.
Sydney and her brother, Tyler, are both teens who were born with autism.
“It gets to be quite complicated, and at the same time it’s the blessings that we get, the joy, the uniqueness … really kind of outweighs a lot of those … stresses and anxiety that can come with parenting special needs kids,” said Brian Scott, Sydney and Tyler’s father.
That is only part of it. In 2010, Sydney was diagnosed with brain cancer, which was treated – only to return last year.
“It’s hard to even put it in words, honestly,” Brian said. “You certainly don’t think that you’re ever going to be faced with anything like that.”
That brings us to the St Michael-Albertville High School basketball team, which is ranked in the top five in the state. And it is a team with some compassion.
Sydney lives in Pequot Lakes, but her uncle, Kent Hamre, coaches the Knights. So the booster club decided to designate their annual “Strike Out Cancer” game to help out.
“Pretty emotional. You know, I’m an emotional guy, which my players will tell you,” Kent said. “And, you know, to see them and the appreciation they gave for it. I get to see it firsthand what they go through.”
They stood up to cancer, and they stood behind Sydney.
“It was very special. We were shocked that they wanted to do that for us,” said Tricia Scott, Sydney’s mother.
It meant something to this team to do this for their coach, and for this girl they had never met.
“That meant the world to us, just knowing that we could help out and just help Sydney out, too,” said St. Michael-Albertville senior Addie Johnson. “It was fun having her in the locker room with us, dancing and just seeing how happy she was.”
And there was a special highlight in the locker room — when they all decided to sing Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin’.”
“We gave her a water bottle and she took it as like the microphone, and just started singing and then showing us all her nice dance moves,” said senior Lizzy Heil.
The coach wasn’t surprised, because he knows his team, and he knows these towns.
“It meant a lot that, you know, that I can maybe help out here a little bit for my community, my school can help out,” Kent said. “That really meant a lot, and more sign of what St. Michael-Albertville is about.”
And Sydney cherishes that memory.
“I really like them,” Sydney said. “They were really nice to me.”
Because it proved their special daughter mattered a lot to a lot of people.
“Just to persevere and keep going and keep her happy and you know, she’s just a trooper with her autism, and she just keeps the excitement of life,” Tricia said.