Courage defined

In good times and bad, no matter how she felt at a particular point in time, Alli Huss fought cancer with the same steadfast creed:

”If God brought you to it, He’ll bring you through it.”

I always admired Alli’s determination. It was noticeable on the basketball court, without question. Her ability to persevere was pushed to the limit, though, following last spring’s sudden and surprising acute lymphoblastic leukemia diagnosis.

Most 18-year-olds aren’t able to find perspective from a break-up or a bad grade. Cancer? For a strong, athletic basketball star in peak physical condition?

Alli wasn’t deterred. She wanted to fulfill a lifelong dream of playing college basketball. Iowa Central head coach Jordon O’Brien said that she was in ”constant communication” with the team. Huss never wavered from her plan to redshirt and return to the court in 2015-16, keeping her eligibility requirements in order through on-line courses and between trips to the University of Iowa for chemotherapy. She even dressed and warmed up with the Tritons before a game in November.

”Alli just had this aura about her,” O’Brien said. ”The positive energy, given the circumstances, was truly inspirational. When our kids would get down about a bad practice or upset about a game, that sense of perspective was right there – smile on her face and all.”

Huss also left indelible impact on our area, with a gift to reach people from all walks of life. St. Edmond head coach Scott Messerly said, ”you’d see her at the Y, or the Dodger Courts, or wherever there was a hoop. She was friends with boys, girls, St. Ed’s kids, Fort Dodge kids – it didn’t matter. It seemed like Alli knew everybody, and everyone knew Alli.”

Relatives were the driving force behind Alli’s spirit. She regularly posted pictures and comments about their unconditional love on social media. I grew up next door to her grandparents, Denny and Elaine, and was best friends with Alli’s uncle, B.J. I still remember the day she was born. No one cared for Alli as much as they did. My heart aches for them today.

Faith. Friendship. Family. All from a teenager who had every reason in the world to be selfish, or feel angry, or isolate herself from reality.

Alli’s favorite line was the first thought that crossed my mind when I heard of her passing Friday morning. At first, I couldn’t comprehend how something like this could happen to a girl so young and full of life.

I still can’t. None of us can. But Alli made the most of every minute she was given on this Earth, and set the kind of example we should all follow in our everyday lives. Let that be a legacy that will live in this community forever.

God brought you to it, Alli. Now, He’s bringing you through it.

Eric Pratt is Sports Editor at The Messenger. He may be reached afternoons and evenings at 1-800-622-6613, or by e-mail at sports@messengernews.net