April 25, 2012
Last Saturday, the Bruins adopted Miah Murphy-Escala, a Kindergarten student at 186th Street School in Gardena. Miah, now six years old, wasn't expected to live beyond nine months and has been able to survive against all odds.
Marcia Reed, the mother of senior Marti Reed and the principal at 186th Street School, introduced Miah and her family to the Bruins prior to their game against Utah on April 21.
"Miah is a very special young individual who is a fighter," head coach Kelly Inouye-Perez said. "Marcia asked if we would be open to adopting her for the season and we were thrilled to do so. We invited Miah to be able to have some sisters to help motivate her to continue her fight."
While it was assuredly awe-inspiring and intimidating to meet so many people, Miah was very engaged with the Bruins.
"She smiled and joined us in a cheer," Inouye-Perez said. "She may have been a little overwhelmed at first, but felt very comfortable with the girls."
"She was a little timid at first, but then she began to smile," Marti Reed said. "And when each of the players introduced themselves, she'd say `hi' and it was the cutest thing."
It isn't the first time the Bruins have adopted someone. In 2009, Cheyenne Broswell was brought into the UCLA family as an honorary Bruin. Diagnosed with an inoperable brain stem tumor at the age of six and told she only had three weeks to live, Cheyenne defied the odds before passing away on March 16, 2009, three days after her ninth birthday.
"Meeting Miah reminded me of Cheyenne," Reed said. "You fall in love with these young kids, and they are so happy just to be a part of our family. They are a part of the team. You get very attached to them, because you know they may not have that much time left. Seeing someone that lives life to the fullest every day, one day at a time, and doesn't worry about the smallest things that we can get caught up in every day, even the game of softball, brings us back to reality and brings us back to remembering why we do this."
The Bruins hope Miah is able to attend many more games at Easton Stadium.
"The plan is for her to come to as many games as she can and we invite her to spend as much time as she can with her big sisters," Inouye-Perez said. "It puts things in perspective for us to be able to see that there is this six-year-old who has been able to fight to live from day one. She has and will continue to inspire us and she represents what being a Bruin is all about. No matter how hard it gets, they fight and have a heart of a champion."
"Having her here brings a positive aura around the team," Reed said. "It makes you stop for a second and think about how blessed you are. The fact that she still has a smile on her face and has a huge heart, when you see something like that, it makes you humble and want to live every day like it's your last. It was a very special moment that we were all able to experience."