GREAT FALLS — On June 5, Great Falls High soccer player Emma Pachek collapsed on the field due to what was seemingly increasing fatigue the past few weeks. A hematology report in Kalispell would reveal she had a rare blood disorder: aplastic anemia.
From that point began many treatments in Denver, Colorado where Emma and her mother Julie have stayed for the past weeks. However, in that span, something special has become of Emma’s illness. It has become a call for others to step up and be Emma Strong.
Emma was matched with a bone marrow donor relatively quickly. Though not needed just yet because of other treatments, Julie describes it as a "blessing" to have been matched should it be needed in the future. That got the family thinking. Other people should be aware of the impact that being a bone marrow and blood donor has on people affected with similar illnesses.
Looking ahead to this Friday, close friends and family are happy to bring about a Be The Match event where community members can become registered donors and take part in a celebration of soccer and Emma.
“You know everybody can be strong, everybody can have a part in helping other people and you know that’s kind of our point,” Julie explained. “We don’t necessarily want this to be about Emma, there’s a bigger picture and there’s more people possibly in the community but definitely the world that are going to need blood and bone marrow match.”
In addition to becoming a donor, the event will take the proceeds and use it as funding for local athletic scholarships designed to allow kids in the area to be able to afford the expenses of playing a sport, like cleats, uniforms and travel expenses.
“Emma can’t play sports this year but we want to make sure everyone else can so any money raised will go so that coaches have the funds to help play for cleats, uniforms, for travel or whatever,” said Susie McIntyre, Emma’s aunt and one of the organizers for the event.
“Our family has been very active in every aspect of sports throughout growing up and I think that is has definitely done wonders for our kids and their growth,” Julie added.
As for Emma and her well-being, she will miss her sophomore soccer season for the Bison and miss the opportunity to play with her sisters Ava and Isabella. But, as Julie points out as another blessing, Emma has not felt sick during the whole process and has continued to forge on and tackle the blood disorder head on as any exceptional soccer player would do. In the coming months, Emma hopes to be on the sidelines supporting her sisters and teammates.
The event takes place Saturday, Aug. 21 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Siebel Fields in Great Falls. The link to the Great Falls Bison Soccer page gives more details about the registry process for becoming a donor.