Gordon feeling hopeful

While it is true the fires of competition rage through Parkersburg South’s Rod Oldham Athletic Center at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, another flame takes center stage.

Writers refer to this light as the human races’ simultaneous source of our greatest strength and our greatest weakness. But come Saturday, there will be nothing weak about this force. It will be so strong, filling, and so overpowering toward the positive spectrum inside the ROAC it easily could break the building apart.

Every person gathered brings their own small measure to add to the collective energy. What is this prodigious power?

“Hope,” said Anna Gordon, the guest of honor at the fifth annual Anna’s Army game. “My mom asked me to think of what this game means to me before I called you and that was a really hard question. The game means hope.”

“It also feels like a big hug when I first walk in,” she added. “Like nothing is going to hurt me because all my friends are there backing me up.”

Are they ever.

I can attest to her proclamation as an attendee last season.

There isn’t an open seat in the house.

A flood of purple catches the eye immediately as fans of Wheeling Park and South forgot team colors and where shirts adorned with the phrase “Patriots never fight alone.” Everyone joins Gordon’s fight against Friedrich’s Ataxia and her never-ending quest to help find a cure.

“It is an overwhelming feeling of love and sympathy,” said Melissa Gordon, Anna’s mother. “You can’t describe it. It makes your knees wobble together.”

FA, as it is commonly called, is a rare genetic disease affecting just one in 50,000 people. The illness causes progressive damage to the nervous system and can lead to scoliosis, heart disease, and diabetes. Gordon was diagnosed at the age of 15.

Now a college junior majoring in Elementary Education, she is really looking forward to this year and has some big news to share with everyone in attendance.

Though I wouldn’t spoil the information she shared with me, Gordon remains as active as ever to raise awareness for her cause.

The young lady held a masquerade ball last August, before her quest led her to Washington D.C. the very same month. One hundred families affected by FA, along with Gordon, met with the Food and Drug Administration and 19 pharmaceutical companies.

“It was very intense in there,” said Gordon, as she recalled the meeting. “A lot of people were tearing up and then they handed me the microphone and what came out of my mouth was a joke – I was tired of dealing with sad stuff all day.

“Overall, I think it was a very good meeting and we pled our case that we don’t have 10 years to wait … We need these drugs now. We really opened some eyes.”

Don’t think she forgot about the game either. Gordon’s excitement over her Patriots’ fast start was clearly audible even over speaker phone. South is off to a 7-1 start and in the midst of a six-game winning streak.

“I am so proud of the boys so far this season,” she said. “This season has been awesome.”

Contact Joe Albright at jalbright@newsandsentinel.com