Kate Marshall, a 15-year-old sophomore at York High School in York Maine, is considered by many to be a star student-athlete. Marshall is an all-star soccer and lacrosse player, on top of maintaining a 3.33 GPA in the classroom.
Before being recognized as Sports Illustrated’s December High School Athlete of the Month, only a handful of those closest to Marshall knew that she had been diagnosed with cystic fibrosis when she was only seven months old.
They were unaware of the daily breathing treatments Marshall undergoes at 5:15 a.m., and again before she goes to bed, the cocktail of 12 different medications she must take every morning along with additional vitamins and enzymes in order to allow her body to digest fat, or the additional six to eight medication she takes at lunch and dinnertime.
However, after being featured in the magazine, her classmates, community and people across the country are aware of Marshall’s struggle with the genetic life-threatening lung disease.
The prestigious award — published in last week’s edition of the magazine — honors a different student-athlete each month who displays character, determination, and strength both on and off the playing field.
“It’s been cool to see the type of attention I’ve been getting and how everyone is so nice and caring,” said Marshall, a midfielder on the York girls’ varsity soccer team. “I’ve never been one to open up about this personal part of my life.”
Marshal will was presented with an award from Sports Illustrated during halftime of a varsity girls basketball team on Thursday, Dec. 19.
Marshall has received emails and text messages from around country, with many hailing her as a role model and a source for inspiration following the publishing of the story and video.
“I think that’s a huge compliment,” Marshall said. “I never pictured myself as [a role model] until now, it’s kind of eye-opening. Ever since I was little I remember my mom giving me my meds and always doing breathing treatments. I never really questioned it because I knew nothing different.”
Marshall, who also received the Most Improved Player award by her varsity soccer team, hopes her struggle with the disease and determination to participate in athletics will inspire others “Everyone with this disease is amazing and fighting this really hard battle. I am way more than just [cystic fibrosis], it’s just a little part of me,” she said.