YPSILANTI -- Athletes will converge on Eastern Michigan campus Sunday, Oct. 7, to participate in a special triathlon event honoring the memory of alumna McKayla Hanson (MS15). At age 7, McKayla was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer and lost her right leg and pelvis after multiple surgeries. At the time, she was one of nine people diagnosed with the disease in the U.S. and one of three survivors.
Despite seemingly impossible odds, McKayla went on to become a member of her high school swimming and diving teams, a high jumper, champion rock climber, national champion hand cyclist, national champion triathlete, peer mentor, and a contender for the U.S. Paralympic Triathlon team. She used her perceived physical challenges to fuel her inspiration and motivation.
"After the last amputation, (the doctors) pretty much said I wouldn't be able to run, ride a bike, roller blade," says McKayla in a short documentary video trailer. "But that is what motivated me and challenged me to do those things they said I wouldn't be able to."
McKayla was starting a career helping other amputees regain their independence after she earned her Master's of Science in Orthotics and Prosthetics from Eastern Michigan University. However, she tragically lost her battle to cancer in September, 2017.
The McKayla Hanson Memorial Scholarship was established to support first or second-year students in EMU's Orthotics and Prosthetics Program and to recognize McKayla's indelible impact on others. Sunday's triathlon event is the primary fundraiser for the scholarship.
Help honor the legacy of this remarkable young woman by attending or supporting the I Tri for Mac Scholarship Fund Triathalon event. The event begins at the Jones pool, with the bike and runs on areas surrounding the EMU campus. Check in is by the Lake House by 8 a.m.