As of Wednesday, January 3, 2018
INDEPENDENCE — Prior to the start of the girls basketball season, Central junior Mariah Hyre decided to shave her head.
The reason behind it wasn’t to start a trend — she wanted to show support to someone who has helped give her courage this season — Lucy Walker, the daughter of Western Oregon baseball coach Kellen Walker, who is battling Leukemia.
“My parents owned an antique mall, and Tyler (Walker) stopped in there before she had any of their kids,” Hyre said. “Ty and my mom became super close.”
When the Hyres learned of Lucy’s diagnosis, Mariah wanted a way to show her support to the family.
“I got the idea from my cousin,” she said. “She has a clothing line that is all about women’s empowerment. I decided to shave my head in honor of Lucy, to show her that hair doesn’t define you.”
Her teammates have been fully behind the idea.
“I’ve had the chance to go up there and to send her pictures,” Hyre said. “The reaction has made me feel better. People are going to look at (what I did) and go, ‘why the heck did you do that?’ Hearing the thanks has helped remind me why I did it.”
Her actions have not gone unnoticed by the Walkers.
“Mariah is a kind-hearted and very talented young woman,” Kellen Walker said. “She is an extremely generous person who is always willing to help out.”
Hyre has played a critical role for the Panthers so far, helping them to a 8-1 record and scoring five points against Churchill on Friday.
But no matter what happens on the court, Lucy remains an inspiration for Hyre.
“It definitely has helped me appreciate the little things a lot more,” Hyre said.