Alicia Webster pushes past cancer to see daughter's signing
Nov. 12, 2017
SHREVEPORT, La. (AP) — Not everyone in northwest Louisiana had the same struggle getting out of bed this morning as did Alicia Webster. Oh, some of us think we do — but most of us don't even come close to dealing with the pain Webster endures simply by rolling off her mattress.
But most of us aren't dealing with stage IV colorectal cancer, the most advanced stage, and the challenges it brings.
Still, Alicia Webster came as close as she currently can to bounding out of bed Wednesday morning, because it was a big day in the Webster household.
North DeSoto senior softball standout and honor student Sydney Webster, Alicia's oldest child, was signing a softball scholarship to attend Arkansas-Monticello. The 8 a.m. ceremony was attended by a Griffin student body, including the entire softball team in support. Momma Webster wasn't going to miss that no matter what it took — maybe even a little extra medication.
"I didn't know if I could do it, but I did what I needed to do get there, because Sydney worked so hard for this — and it means a lot to all of us," said Webster, who deals with the pain of the tumor on her colon on a minute-by-minute basis. "Getting a scholarship is a sweet reward, and I'm so very, very proud of her."
Sydney Webster has been an integral part of North DeSoto's three consecutive LHSAA Class 4A state titles. She wasn't the shining star — that belonged to pitcher EC Delafield, shortstop Bayli Simon and outfielder Emily Henderson. Webster is more of a blue-collar worker — someone who hits relentlessly in the batting cage and shags balls without ceasing to get the most out of her God-given ability. Having mom at her school for the signing meant a lot.
"Recently she hasn't been able to come to my fall ball or travel ball games, so for her to come, even though things are rough right now, it was a very special moment for both of us," Sydney Webster said. "She was so happy when I verballed, so I just knew that being there to watch me sign was not only important to me, but very important to her."
Even though she has a season remaining in Stonewall, one of her hard work-payoff games came in April at the state tournament in Sulphur when she hit a 3-run homer to put the Lady Griffins ahead of West Ouachita 7-0 in the championship game. Alicia Webster had been getting chemo treatments in Houston just hours before the first pitch, but made it to Frasch Park in time to see her daughter's big moment.
"I go out there every day working hard for my mom because I know she wants me to do my best," Webster said at the time while choking back tears. "She's getting chemo and radiation every day and she's fighting for her life, so I'm gonna fight for mine."
Initially diagnosed with stage three colon cancer in 2015, Alicia was supposed to be clear of the debilitating disease by this point. She was, in fact, given a clean bill of health following chemo, radiation and surgery on the tumor the first time around. But she didn't remain clear. The cancer came roaring back earlier this year with a vengeance most of us can only imagine. A colonoscopy confirmed that a bigger, badder tumor was inside her. She was supposed to have surgery in May, but the doctors opted to see how she responds to the chemo and radiation.
"The pain is much worse this time around. The first time I was mostly just tired," she said. "I really can't do much of anything and I'm in bed most of the time. I'm just hurting so much."
The good news is her employer approved her doing tele work from the house. She's able to sit or lie in bed and take care of her duties.
Although she's had some interest from other schools, the Cotton Blossoms' coaching staff was the first to offer her a scholarship. That came the night she attended The Times Best of Preps banquet at the Shreveport Convention Center as an All-Area softball first team member. Webster hit .381 with 7 homers and 28 RBIs last season for coach Lori McFerren.
"Sydney didn't accept at first, because we wanted to make sure. But she went up there on a visit and really liked everything about it," Alicia said. "We all went up there this summer, although there wasn't anyone on campus. So we went to Walmart and loaded up on UAM gear."
Her softball scholarship will take care of Sydney's room and board, while her academic performance and 24 ACT score will get 80 percent of her academics paid for. The Websters will be left with 20 percent.
The Cotton Blossom's team sent a video welcoming Sydney to the team.
Even though she was extremely tired by the end of Wednesday's signing ceremony, Alicia wouldn't have missed the special day in her daughter's life, just like she had to be there for the state title game.
"That was one of the best moments of my life when she hit that home run, because it showcased her talent for everyone to see," Alicia said. "Sydney's gone through a lot of adversity in her life — things haven't always gone her way — but she made a statement that night.
"And all I've ever wanted is to see her succeed."
Information from: The Times, http://www.shreveporttimes.com