"I’ve had eight brain surgeries and after every one, I’ve worked hard to get back to play softball again," said Lauren ‘LoLo’ Wade, a senior softball pitcher at Lompoc High School.
The 17-year-old has been playing the game since she was four years old with setbacks only the strongest can endure.
Wade was diagnosed with cavernous hemangioma malformations at 22 weeks old. She has tiny blood vessels on her brain that rupture and bleed, which can cause seizures, paralysis, and even death.
"We really didn’t know what was happening to her. She continued to seize and we ended up at Cottage Hospital where the doctor was able to see the actual bleeding going from her head. That’s when we knew," said Greg Wade, LoLo’s father.
LoLo had her first life-saving surgery when she was in kindergarten. It would not stop there. When she entered high school, LoLo underwent surgery for the fifth time. She was bullied for it and to make things harder for her, she was cut from the sport she loves most.
"Everybody made fun of me. Gave me names and stuff. I got cut from the softball team because of my illness," Wade said.
"She got sick and they didn’t want to deal with her," said Cathy Wade, LoLo’s mother. "They were done. So they cut her."
Wade went on to have surgery number six and seven shortly after.
"It’s something she’s going to have to deal with for the rest of her life. When she still has current bleeding on her brain at any time that can capacitate or could change her way of life, we have that constant worry," Greg said.
But if you live like LoLo, you never give up. She transferred to Lompoc High School for a new start. After the Braves were sitting near the bottom of the league, the Braves went through some coaching changes and LoLo led the team to six straight wins.
On Monday, she was honored at the Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table where she received a standing ovation.
"I don’t give up. The ball game, that’s my life. It’s always been there for me," Wade said.
LoLo’s determination to live life to the fullest inspires us all, even her parents.
"How she says, ‘tomorrow is never promised to anyone, live life to the fullest today’, it’s so cool. It’s awesome. I need to take that and live with that myself. She lives on the edge and I gain strength from that," Cathy said.