Extraordinary, stamina, moxie, and faith. These are the pillars of Team Moxie, based at Mercy because no one epitomizes that character like Emma Falk.
You wouldn't know it by the smile, but Emma Falk has been through a lot in her lifetime to this point. Hodgkins lymphoma when she was a seventh grader, treated by chemotherapy, which led to acute myeloid leukemia, which she battled entering her junior year at Mercy and required a bone marrow transplant.
"I definitely think, since I have beaten cancer twice, I can take on whatever comes my way. It certainly has prepared me for whatever may come in my future but I'm so thankful for all of the people who helped me through my tough times and made things work out now," she said.
Her sister, Aidan, had been her biggest cheerleader, but became an active participant in 2011 when she came up an exact bone marrow match and saved her sister's life.
"I can't even tell you what emotions happened, I was so shocked but I've never been that happy before," Aidan said.
"If you don't have a perfect match of a sibling, it can take a while, to go across the globe to find a donor, which can put back the treatment for months to years," said Emma.
Now, the Falks and their Mercy family have rallied to beat Leukemia, hosting their third annual Strikeout Cancer event. In 2012, they raised $16,000, the second most money raised for that cause in the nation.
"We give the money to Ronald McDonald House and Leukemia-Lymphoma Foundation, so, definitely goes to a really good cause and we're so excited to support it," Emma said.
Things are now looking up for the Falks. Aidan, a junior, has given a verbal commitment to play softball at Michigan after next year. Emma, who stepped in when Mercy's setter got hurt right before sectionals this fall, helped the Monarchs to the New York State Class AA volleyball title and is also going to play in college.
"Next year I'll be playing volleyball at Loyola of Maryland so, I'm really excited about that and I'll be majoring in business," Emma said. "College is such a normal, good thing to do. It's just awesome to be here and going to college next year and have the normal life I've always wanted."
Her courage displayed through her ordeal has made Emma Falk an inspiration to everyone involved in Team Moxie. She has also reached out to help kids dealing with leukemia, including Webster Thomas freshman Emily Hill, who is beating the disease with the support of her friends at Mercy.
"My family is my inspiration, she's my inspiration obviously but just the person that she is and the person that she's become is just who I drive to be, desire to be in life, so that's definitely changed me, who I am," Aidan said.