McMullan shows courage in her battle for life

By ROBBIE ROBERTSON,

This past week was quite an exciting week in sports.

The NCAA men’s basketball tournament was as fun as any that I can remember. The only one I can remember that was more fun was the year Mississippi State made it to the Final Four. But for sheer enjoyment, the opening weekend was great.

And then there was Mississippi State’s men in the NIT against Baylor. The MSU men led by 20, were down by 10 and won on a buzzer beater.

But even with all of that going on, I still couldn’t help but think of one thing and that was Newton County’s Alana McMullan.

McMullan, a junior at Newton County, spent her Spring Break in the hospital. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor and had surgery to remove it last week.

While we were in New Orleans, trying to enjoy a few days away from home, all I could think about was Alana. I took Amy and Marshall to go see “Phantom of the Opera” and several times during the show, I thought of Alana and said a prayer while she was going through surgery. All I could see was her smiling face.

It seems just like a few weeks ago I was taking photos of McMullan playing basketball at Newton County, having one of her best games of the season. Not long after that, I talked with tennis coach Chad Bond, and McMullan was certainly going to figure into his plans in tennis this season. But that’s just how fast some of these things happen.

I wouldn’t say that I’m close friends with the McMullans by any means, but I did a feature on older brother Ethan a few years ago and he always takes time to talk to me when he sees me. He even sent me a Facebook request in the last week or so. And I’ve known her grandfather, Mr. Doyle McMullan, for years and he always speaks to me.

Last year, Alana suffered a knee injury and missed basketball season. When I would go to games, I would ask her how she was doing and she was always very polite. Even this year, she would always say hello and look me in the eye. That may not mean much to most people, but in this day and age, it means a lot to me. Today, it’s rare to find young men and women that will look you straight in the eye and talk to you like an adult. To put it simply, you could just tell that McMullen was one of the kids who was raised the right way and that’s something I appreciate in this day and age.

Just the thought of this really shook me to my core. I’ve got a 20-year-old and a 13-year-old and you start to realize how precious life is. This could have been one of my children. It could be one of your children.

At the time this was written, Alana made it through surgery and was doing well. Her mother’s Facebook post said she “walked in the hallway with minimal assistance and ate regular food.”

It’s not often I do such things, but I ask you to join me as I pray for this very special young lady. I pray that the Lord heal her and help her family through these trying times.

Robbie Robertson is sports editor for The Newton County Appeal.