College Softball Player Battles Leukemia

TWU team rallies around pitcher

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A North Texas college softball team is taking to the diamond without their star pitcher, who is trying to strike out leukemia.

    Instead of standing on the mound, Abby Burns has been in and out of the hospital.

    "Usually, people don't get the kind of leukemia I have until they are like 50," she said.

    Burns was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia just before the new year.

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    A TWU softball pitcher is determined to make it back on the playing field.

    The 21-year-old, a senior at Texas Woman's University, does not have health insurance, and she was denied Medicare when she initially applied.

    "She is the best of the best in this conference, so it was a big blow to our team with her not being on the field," coach Richie Bruister said.

    One of Burns' teammates, Kayla Williams, said the team learned of her diagnosis a month ago when it was on the way to visit her at the hospital. Her teammates thought she was fighting a case of mononucleosis.

    "Abby actually called me on the way and told me that it was leukemia, so we had to turn the bus around and go home," Williams said.

    "It's something you can't prepare for," Bruister said. "It's not in our coaching bible."

    Burns bravely faced the first round of chemotherapy while her team and school rallied around her.

    "Essentially, TWU and this team have been her family," Williams said.

    From bracelets and T-shirts to Wednesday's bone marrow registration and blood drive, the team is going to bat for Burns.

    "I feel like there are a lot of people behind me, and I don't have to worry about it," Burns said.

    "It is about Abby, and we want her to win this fight, and we know she will do that," Bruister said.

    Burns continues to go to practice and watches every game. She said the support of her team keeps her going.

    She still needs several rounds of chemotherapy treatment before she can have a bone marrow transplant. But Burns said she intends to be back on the field next year once she makes a full recovery.