It’s the news no parent, coach, teammate or friend ever wants to hear. A diagnosis of a rare and very aggressive form of spinal cord cancer that threatens the life of a beautiful and unsuspecting spirit far too early in life. The path to recovery is a long and daunting road yet for this family, you would never know they have become one of those families facing the challenges of a daughter who is now fighting for her life.
Michelle “Mouse” Reilly and her family are now facing that reality. Yet, in the most challenging of circumstances, Michelle’s positive outlook and beaming smile continues to fill every room with the magic of hope and love for those around her. That’s just how she always lives her life. Her relentless desire to make the people around her feel positive, vibrant and full of hope always transcends anything else. Whether on the volleyball court, in the classroom, or sharing fun times with friends, Michelle is always the one who brings community together. Now, it’s Michelle who needs that same community to rally behind her efforts to be well and beat this diagnosis.
Michelle Reilly started her Volleyball career in Nanaimo when she was in Grade 6 with the Hammond Bay Diggers school and Club team, both coached by Tony Dendes. The team participated in Volleyball BC Provincials as a 12U entrant. Tony reflected on Michelle in Grade 6 as shy and sweet, with a happiness to be involved demonstrated with her trademark infectious smile.
The Diggers were part of the newly formed Mt. Benson Volleyball Club, which fielded only three teams in their one-and-done season. The next season, those three teams then formed the backbone of the new and expanded Mariners Volleyball Club (MVC), which is now in 2019 one of the largest clubs in the Province. Those original Diggers are still going strong, playing for either Nanaimo District Secondary or Dover Bay Secondary as well as the 17U/18U Club program with MVC.
Michelle has continued to play with MVC teams for the past several years, most recently on the 16U team coached by Terry Palfrey. Terry describes Michelle as a player who has all the attributes of “the best teammate one could ever hope for, always upbeat, quickly to smile, reliable, easy going and exceptionally caring and supportive”.
This is why MVC recognizes that this is the right time to pay all the love continuously given by Michelle back to her and her family. As a result, Volleyball BC supports MVC in its campaign called “We Play for Michelle” that allows all of us to support Michelle’s fight against her cancer. Although MVC had originally thought to keep the campaign local, the Volleyball BC community is interconnected and here to support. We as a community and collective energy can now stand together and “Play for Michelle”.
Canuck Sports Stuff has generously contributed their resources to MVC’s campaign by selling “Mighty Mouse” t-shirts until Jan. 31, with all proceeds going towards Michelle and her family. To show your support and purchase a t-shirt, click here.