OLMSTED FALLS, Ohio — Before the district hockey semifinals Saturday, Olmsted Falls senior MacKenna Wertman had a goal.
“I was praying to God that a miracle would happen — that we can win this game and our team can beat Ignatius,” said Wertman.
But that wasn’t the miracle.
Olmsted Falls lost to St. Ignatius, 6-1.
And the Bulldogs’ only goal came in the last seconds of the game from the team’s smallest player.
“I was so happy; I was crying because it was my last game. I was happy; I got a goal!” said Wertman.
It’s been a tough road for her.
Wertman was diagnosed with brain cancer when she was eight.
After rounds of chemo and radiation, her scans came back clear.
“I told my mom, everything is going to be okay; I got a message from God and he said everything was going to be okay,” said Wertman.
One year later, the cancer returned.
But MacKenna kept fighting.
Eight years later, she is cancer-free.
“The people in the stands told me, she’s moving to the door! I was like, ‘Oh no, she can’t go in! She is going to get hurt,'” said Joanna Sigan, MacKenna’s mother.
“We were down six nothing. So, with a couple minutes left, I talked to the St. Ignatius coach and said, ‘I have a senior player, a cancer survivor; I’d like to get her out on the ice. If you could tell your kids to look out for #8,'” said Coach Zach Walczak.
But according to Walczak, Ignatius decided to do even better.
They decided to let her score.
“It was huge. And for the goalie to give up a shutout when he was going for a record in shutouts in a state tournament, that’s something special,” said Walczak.
“I didn’t even get to see her celebrate because I fell to my knees, sobbing. I was so overcome,” said Sigan.
Because in this community, it’s about more than hockey.
It’s about believing in yourself and never giving up.
Just like MacKenna.
“Miracles do happen. If you put your mind to it, you can do anything. Even in the hardest of times, you can get to the greatest of moments,” said Wertman.
Wertman is headed to Malone University in the fall where she plans on studying nursing.